Tornado Warning Signs You Need to Know

Tornado Survival Guide In Order of Events

Mother urging her two kids into a tornado shelter in Oklahoma City, OK

Your Lifesaver in Tornados - Ground Zero Shelters

As we all know, tornados can be utterly devastating. When these furious funnels touch down, they can cause catastrophic damage, especially in areas like Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where tornados frequently occur. That's why we at Ground Zero Shelters have taken it upon ourselves to provide you with a comprehensive tornado survival guide. Follow this sequence of events and make sure you're prepared for the inevitable.

Tornado Warning and Watches

Understanding the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning is the first step in any comprehensive tornado survival guide. Both serve a critical purpose in keeping you informed about the potential threats in your area. But knowing when and how to respond to these alerts can be the key to your survival. During a tornado watch, it's important to stay informed about the changing weather conditions. Keep an eye on the sky, and tune in to your local news or weather radio for updates. This is the time to review your emergency plan and check your survival kit to ensure that everything is in order. Remember, when it comes to tornados, preparation is everything. Being equipped with the knowledge and supplies you need can make a significant difference. When a tornado warning is issued, you need to act immediately. There's no time for second-guessing or hesitation. This is the time to get to your storm shelter or the most secure place in your home, away from windows and doors. Tornados can form quickly and can be unpredictable, so the faster you act, the better. Every moment matters in a storm, especially when it's a tornado.

Seek Shelter

A vital part of any effective tornado survival guide is finding the safest possible shelter. When a tornado warning has been issued, this needs to be your top priority. Whether that's a specifically designed storm shelter, a safe room in your house, or a basement, the goal is to put as many barriers between you and the storm as possible. If you're in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, OK, and you're serious about tornado safety, consider investing in a high-quality storm shelter from Ground Zero Shelters. Our shelters are specifically designed to withstand the fierce winds and flying debris that tornados bring. In a region where tornados are a regular occurrence, having a dedicated storm shelter can mean the difference between survival and catastrophe. Remember, when the storm arrives, having a safe and reliable shelter could be the best decision you've ever made.

Inside the Shelter

First and foremost, ensure you have the necessary supplies to sustain you for the storm's duration. Remember, in the event of a tornado, your survival hinges on both the strength of your shelter and your preparedness level. Taking the time to carefully gather the essentials could make the difference between mere survival and relative comfort during the storm.

After the Tornado

Surviving a tornado doesn't end once the storm has passed. In fact, your actions in the aftermath can be just as crucial as those during the tornado itself. Our comprehensive tornado survival guide extends beyond the storm, covering necessary actions and precautions to take in the wake of a tornado. Often, tornados leave a trail of destruction, which can include downed power lines, shattered glass, splintered wood, and other hazards. It's important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings to prevent injuries even after the tornado has passed. Our guide on post-tornado actions provides an in-depth look at safely navigating the aftermath of a storm, including inspecting your home for damage, ensuring your family's safety, and when and how to seek help if necessary. Surviving a tornado is about more than just weathering the storm—it's about making wise decisions before, during, and after the event.

Damage Assessment and Recovery

Living in Tornado Alley, such as in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, OK, the threat of a tornado is a constant reality. Preparation, then, becomes not just crucial, but a necessity. Our detailed tornado survival guide is more than just a handbook; it's a tool for survival. It is designed to equip you with the knowledge you need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when the storm hits. In the face of such powerful natural phenomena as tornados, the best defense is being prepared. Are you ready for the next storm? At Ground Zero Shelters, we provide high-quality storm shelters designed to protect you and your family when it matters most. We're proud of our proven track record, excellent customer service, and our unwavering commitment to keeping you safe. Don't wait for the storm to hit - prepare today! Contact us now and take the first step towards a safer future.

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Foods to Stockpile in in your Storm Shelter

Stockpile These Foods in Case of Emergency

Man with his stockpiled food in a shelter for tornado safety Oklahoma City, OK

An emergency can happen with very little warning, especially in cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK. Because you won't typically have a few hours to prepare before a tornado, it's imperative that you square away all the proper supplies beforehand. At Ground Zero Shelters, we recommend stockpiling non-perishable foods to ensure you don't go hungry while waiting for the storm to pass. Fueling your body in emergency situations calls for a different set of foods than your everyday diet. For one, you'll need to choose foods that won't go bad after a few days or weeks. Here's our advice on which foods to stockpile for an emergency.

Pack on Protein

During a high-stress emergency, you're likely to expend more energy than normal. As such, it's crucial to stockpile foods high in protein. These foods will keep you fuller for longer and give you the most energy. These items make excellent additions to any disaster preparedness kit:

  • Peanut butter
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned meats
  • Beef jerky
  • Beans

Canned Goods Are Your Best Friend

As you make your tornado preparedness plan, make sure to add lots of canned foods to your storm shelter. These goods tend to last months, if not years, without going bad. However, be sure to continuously check expiration dates and get rid of anything that's too far gone. You can get canned versions of nearly anything, including:

  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned soup

Go Beyond Just Water

Your emergency food stockpile wouldn't be complete without plenty of fluids. Keeping a hefty store of water may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to have enough to hydrate the whole family for a few days. Beyond water, you might also consider drinks high in electrolytes. These beverages will help replenish your fluids when you feel yourself getting dehydrated. Load up on these drinks, in addition to lots of bottled water:

  • Sports drinks
  • Powdered milk

Feel Fuller With Carb-Heavy Foods

Carbs are your body's preferred energy source, and it's vital to fill up on these nutrients in high-stress situations. Carbs help the body feel fuller for longer—no growling stomachs while holed up in the storm shelter! What's more, many carb-heavy foods seldom go bad. Grab these items for your stockpile:

  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Pasta and spaghetti sauce
  • Nuts and trail mix
  • Rice
  • Crackers

What Are Your Favorite Seasonings?

When stockpiling, the priority is usually big-ticket items like cereal, peanut butter, and canned goods. However, trust us, you'll want seasonings somewhere in your stockpile. You likely won't be stuck in a storm shelter for more than a few hours, and you'll want a way to flavor your food while you wait for the roads to clear and the supermarkets to open back up. We recommend keeping these on hand:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Bullion
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Cooking oil/shortening

Don't Forget Your Sweet Tooth

While not a top priority for your stockpile, it's always a good idea to have some sweet treats stowed away. These are great for giving yourself a little joy at the end of a tough day. Candy also makes an excellent reward for kids who may be tired of staying cooped up at home. Grab a few bags of the following for your emergency food stockpile:

  • Hard candy
  • Dried fruits

Consider These Additional Goods

It's helpful to think outside the box as you build up your emergency stockpile. You might choose to keep some non-traditional edible items in your selection. Here's what we recommend at Ground Zero Shelters:

  • MREs: MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are exactly what they sound like. These meals are used by military units in combat to get all their daily nutrients. Although they can be pricey, MREs are an excellent way to save space in your stockpile while still getting enough calories for the day.
  • Multivitamins: Have you taken your vitamins today? Having a stock of multivitamins is a good idea, especially since you may not be getting all the right vitamins and minerals during an emergency.

Start Your Stockpile in a Storm Shelter

There's never a wrong time to get a stockpile going. While it may not do you much good in the present, you'll be thankful you did the work when an emergency occurs. A storm shelter is one of the best places to keep your non-perishables, ensuring you and your family have access to food when the worst happens. Contact Ground Zero Shelters today to learn more about installing a storm shelter at your Oklahoma City home.

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5 Things You Should Never Do During a Tornado

Seven tornado myths debunked on Ground Zero Shelters

Tornadoes can happen at any time and any place. Because these extreme storms are inevitable, it's essential to be prepared before the fact. If you've done the prep work ahead of time, you have a much better chance of coming out on the other side of a tornado unharmed.

Tornado preparedness puts the odds in your favor and helps you avoid injury and distress. While there are many ways to be prepared (installing a storm shelter, stockpiling food, etc.), one of the best things you can do is educate yourself. The team at Ground Zero Shelters is dedicated to helping our Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK customers know how to respond in the event of a tornado. Here are our top five "don'ts" when a tornado hits.

1. Don't Disregard a Tornado Warning

We see them all the time on the local news—thunderstorm watches and warnings. Too often, we assume these warnings are false alarms. After all, we've all seen "TORNADO WARNING" plastered across the screen, then gotten nothing more than heavy rain. However, it's crucial to go into tornado preparedness mode as soon as the storm sirens go off. At the first sign of trouble, get home immediately and move into your storm shelter. This advanced warning has literally been the difference between life and death for many people.

2. Don't Look Out or Open Windows

Is it okay to look outside and watch the sky? Should you open windows during a tornado? We get these questions all the time at Ground Zero Shelters, and their answer is simple: no. While it may be enticing to look out the window and watch funnel clouds form, it's dangerous to get too close to glass. Windows break easily and turn into very harmful debris. In fact, being hit by debris is the number-one way people lose their lives in a tornado. It's always better safe than sorry!

A second window-related issue is whether or not to leave them open. It's a myth that leaving the windows open will equalize pressure and keep your windows intact. In reality, opening your windows will only serve to weaken your home as strong winds gust around inside. The best thing you can do during a tornado is to stay away from windows altogether.

3. Don't Take Shelter in a Large Open Space

The best place to take shelter is in an under- or above-ground safe room. However, we understand that not every household or workplace has a secure interior space to hole up. As you search for the safest place to wait out the tornado, be sure to avoid any large, open areas. Big rooms like cafeterias, gyms, and auditoriums do not make good areas to shelter in place. Staying in these spaces means there is no barrier between you and any flying debris. Being in open spaces outdoors also puts you at higher risk of injury from lightning.

4. Don't Try to Outrun the Tornado

Storm chasing seems like an exciting activity for any adrenaline junkie. But trying to outrun a tornado for any reason is never a good idea. Most tornados clock in at 10 to 20mph, but some can go faster than a car on the highway. Even if you step on the gas, your chances are slim to none of outrunning a tornado. When the sirens begin to sound, seek shelter immediately and don't leave until the storm is over. Pulling off to a gas station or restaurant and getting indoors is much better than becoming a sitting duck in your car.

5. Don't Park Your Car Under an Overpass or Bridge

Sometimes, you may find yourself with no way to get indoors before a tornado hits. In those cases, many people recommend finding an overpass or bridge to sit under. However, this is the absolute LAST place you should be during a twister. Instead, you should buckle up in your car and try to get below road level, like in a ditch. Winds accelerate as they travel underneath an overpass and can lift vehicles off the ground. What's more, the strong winds can do significant damage to the bridge's structure, causing it to collapse onto anything underneath. While waiting out a tornado is scary, finding yourself trapped under heavy concrete is worse.

Ground Zero Shelters Is Here for You

Planning for a tornado isn't the most fun thing to do with your weekend, but it is necessary to protect yourself and your family. Thankfully, Ground Zero Shelters is here to help you make your tornado preparedness plan. We install several types of shelters and safe rooms so you have a secure place to go when the storm sirens begin wailing. Contact our professionals today to learn more about installation.

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Above Ground vs In-Ground Tornado and Storm Shelters

Choosing Between Above and Underground Storm Shelters

If you live in Tornado Alley, you understand the importance of being prepared for major, damaging storms. Storm damage is often inevitable, but that doesn't mean you can't take steps to prevent the worst of it. At Ground Zero Shelters, we always recommend our customers invest in top-of-the-line storm shelters to protect themselves and their families.

However, the variety of storm shelters available can make choosing the right one more of a challenge than you might expect. If you're confused about whether to choose an above-ground safe room or a below-ground storm shelter, our Oklahoma City, OK team is here to help. Get the details on the two main types of storm shelter.

Are Underground Storm Shelters Safer?

Underground storm shelters are among the most popular options for residents of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Many people assume that underground structures provide better protection from the strong winds that come with a tornado. But the truth is that above-ground safe rooms are just as secure as their underground counterparts. Researchers from Texas Tech University claim that there is no evidence of above-ground safe room failures. While underground shelters are certainly an excellent way to protect yourself from a tornado, above-ground units are just as effective.

An Above-Ground Shelter Can Sit Almost Anywhere

One pro of choosing an above-ground safe room as a tornado shelter is the location. You can put these shelters nearly anywhere in your home, as long as there's negative space available. We recommend installing them in your basement or on the first floor. Many of our customers opt for these interior locations:

  • Garages
  • Pantries
  • Closets

The Best Place for an Underground Storm Shelter

above ground vs in ground tornado storm shelters in OKC and Tulsa

The best place to install an underground storm shelter is beneath your garage. No matter where you place your tornado shelter, you'll get the same protection from the structure. However, it's important to factor in how you'll get to the shelter in case of an emergency. If you install it outside, you and your family may have to walk through extreme winds, huge pieces of hail, and dangerous debris to get to safety. Installing these effective shelters beneath your garage means easy access for the whole family. Should you decide on the garage as your prime location, we will install your shelter flush with the ground and allow it to sick up about a half-inch to keep water from flooding inside.

Take Advantage of These Benefits

Investing in a tornado shelter can benefit you in more ways than one. While their express purpose is to protect you and your family during a storm, there are several other advantages that come with their installation. Whether you choose an above- or below-ground shelter, you'll enjoy these perks:

  • Added value to your home
  • Can keep you safe from intruders, in addition to storms
  • Can be located using GPS
  • Peace of mind that your shelter has been tested thoroughly by the Texas Tech Wind Science & Research Center

Is an Above- or Below-Ground Shelter Best for Me?

At the end of the day, above and underground shelters are equally safe during a storm. Which is best for you comes down to your specific circumstances and needs. Fortunately, Ground Zero Shelters is here to help make the decision easier. Here's what you'll need to factor in as you determine the best shelter for you and your family:

  • Accessibility: Does a member of your family use a wheelchair to get around? If so, be sure to opt for a handicap-accessible shelter. Many modern safe rooms are completely accessible for wheelchair users. There are no steps, and you can simply wheel right in!
  • Space Limitations: What type of space are you working with? Some home layouts may not lend themselves to an above-ground unit, while others may have plenty of space for the shelter. If you don't have enough indoor space in your home, we recommend going with an underground shelter.
  • Property Type: Do you rent or own your house? Renters may not have the liberty to install a storm shelter underground without their landlord's permission. Should a large installation project not be feasible, we may be able to install an above-ground safe room that meets your needs.
  • Price Point: You can't truly put a price on safety, but budget is a consideration when you're getting ready to install a storm shelter. Our team would be happy to explain the installation costs and find the unit best suited to your budget.

Above the ground v. In-ground shelter infographic

Meet With the Team at Ground Zero Shelters

Safety is never something you should take for granted, and it's always good to do your homework before investing in a tornado shelter. The good news, however, is that you can't choose wrong when it comes to above- and below-ground storm shelters. Both options have been proven to keep Oklahoma families safe, and the choice comes down to your personal preferences. No matter the case for you, Ground Zero Shelters is here to give you peace of mind that you and your family will be safe from raging tornados. Contact us today.

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Kentucky Tornado Average Facts

Learn More About Tornado Occurrence in Kentucky

Tornado drawing

It's never fun to think about a damaging storm hitting near your home. However, Kentucky residents should be prepared for the reality of a tornado touching down in their area. While preparation can be complex, it's necessary for keeping your family safe. One of the first steps to tornado readiness is education. Once you understand how tornadoes are formed and how common they are in your area, you'll be better equipped for a severe storm. At Ground Zero Shelters, we're dedicated to helping people throughout Tornado Alley and similar areas feel safe during a tornado. Learn more about the history of tornadoes in Kentucky and what you can do to protect yourself.

Historic Data on Kentucky Tornadoes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is responsible for tracking storms, and their records on Kentucky tornadoes go back to 1950. Over the last 70 years, the state has seen more than 1,300 storms causing over a billion dollars in property damage and an additional two million in crop damage—and that's before factoring in the human cost of these dangerous storms. Tornado touchdowns are on the rise, spiking in the last two decades. The most recent disastrous tornado hit Kentucky in 2021 and destroyed over 15,000 buildings in the state.

When Is Kentucky Tornado Season?

Kentucky is a part of Hoosier Alley, an offshoot of what we traditionally think of as Tornado Alley. Peak storm season in Kentucky and all of Hoosier Alley occurs during April and May. However, that doesn't mean that tornadoes are limited to these months, and sometimes they hit as early as January and as late as November. It's crucial to be prepared all year, but especially during the height of tornado season.

How Common Are Tornadoes in Kentucky?

On average, about 21 tornadoes touch down in Kentucky each year. In a three-month tornado season, that comes out to an average of seven tornados each month. While some of these storms may be more severe than others, there's no question that tornadoes are common in Kentucky, and residents should make every effort to be prepared for the damages. That said, tornadoes have been reported far more in recent years than before 2000. Take a look at the yearly total tornadoes for the past decade:

  • 2022—34
  • 2021—63
  • 2020—26
  • 2019—30
  • 2018—39
  • 2017—29
  • 2016—28
  • 2015—17
  • 2014—29
  • 2013—44

Top Cities and Areas Affected

Whether you're making a move to Kentucky or simply want to be educated about your current community, it's a good idea to find information about tornadoes in your area. Thankfully, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calculates a Tornado Risk Index score and rating. These values show a community's relative risk for tornadoes in comparison to other parts of the United States. Kentucky as a whole has a low to moderate risk of tornadoes, but some parts of the state are more susceptible than others. Here are the cities (with a population over 1,000) with the highest Tornado Risk Index:

  • Louisville
  • Jeffersontown
  • Bowling Green
  • Glasgow
  • Hopkinsville
  • Owensboro
  • Madisonville
  • Paducah
  • Lexington
  • Frankfort
  • Florence

Know the Prime Conditions for Tornadoes

Now that you know some facts and averages about Kentucky tornadoes, it's time to recognize the prime conditions for tornado formation. Hoosier Alley and Kentucky have the perfect storm, so to speak, of tornado-friendly conditions. The area experiences lots of atmospheric instability, conflicting temperatures, and shifting wind directions, all of which increase the chances of a tornado touching down. Other signs that a tornado may be brewing include:

  • Flying debris
  • Changes in the color of the sky (usually green or yellow indicate a severe storm)
  • Loud roaring sound
  • Large hail

Protect Yourself and Your Family

Tornadoes in Kentucky may not be as common as in other Midwestern states, but it's still vital to be prepared in the event of an emergency. At Ground Zero Shelters, we make every effort to help our customers prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We offer above-ground tornado shelters where you and your family can stockpile essentials and stay safe during the worst of it. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you weather a storm.

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Warning Signs To Look For When Tornadoes Are Near

If you sense that a storm is imminent, take a moment and check for the warning signs below to see if it is a tornado. 

  • A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
  • If there is a tornado warning or tornado watch posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger.
  • A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.
  • Clouds moving by very fast. Especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area in the sky.
  • A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, then turning into a roar as it comes closer.
  • If you see a tornado and it is not moving to the right or to the left relative to trees or power poles, it may be moving towards you.
  • Tornados usually move from the southwest to northeast.

Order your shelter today and don’t wait any longer to protect your family. You can also contact us if you have any questions.

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