Tornadoes, Oklahoma, and Safe Rooms

Interactive Map: 1999, 2003, 2013 Moore Tornadoes

My first tornado experience was when I was a very young child. We were visiting my Aunt and Uncle's house in Alto Michigan. My Aunt and Uncle and Mom and Dad were out someplace together and I was with my cousins and siblings. Of that group of six (Lila, Steve, Linda, Nancy, me, and Roger) I was # 5 in age. I believe Lila is 13 years older than I. My recollection is not clear but I would guess that I was between 6 and 9 - probably closer to six because Lila was unmarried at the time and still lived at home. Tornado sirens sounded and we were to go to the cellar. Problem was that the cellar was flooded. As it turned out we were safe but farm homes and barns all around us were damaged (Dad drove us around the next day).

I'm not sure it this was a tornado experience or just a violent thunderstorm, but when we lived in Fort Wayne Indiana there was a nasty storm. I went out with my Father afterwards to survey the damage. I remember that there were multiple downed powerlines and Dad kept a tight hand on me to keep me far from danger.

In Colorado we experienced a tornado but it was North of us by several miles and the Colorado tornadoes are not that powerful.

Here in Plymouth we experienced a very violent thunderstorm shortly after moving in.We retreated to the lower level and even into the unfinished back room that is supposed to be the safest part of our house.

In 1999 we flew to Dallas and witnessed from the air the aftermath (by a week or so) of the 1999 Oklahoma tornado (red line above). And in 2003 we witnessed the aftermath of that tornado (blue line above)

On Oklahoma: I would live there. I'm not likely to live there but Oklahoma City is very attractive. The Arbuckle Mountain area is also very attractive.

On safe rooms: Our safe room in Plymouth is on the lower level. It is on the West side of the house and very protected. I'm not saying that we would be protected from an F-5 ... but we would be protected from the typical Minnesota tornado.Somewhere we have a crank style emergency radio and we have plenty of flashlights.

If one lived in Oklahoma, a safe room would be a worthy investment. As Kathee has said many times, "I wouldn't live in Oklahoma unless I had a safe room. Here's an example.


  1. Consider giving aid:


    this is a small thing and I am not bragging ... but we sent a check for $ 50

  2. The question is asked: Why aren't there more storm shelters in Oklahoma?:

    “I am unaware of any jurisdiction that requires safe rooms in private homes,” said Corey Schultz, a Kansas architect who specializes in building safe rooms for schools. And only one state – Alabama – requires them in schools, he said.
    Though the mayor of Moore said Wednesday he now wants the city to require shelters in private homes, Oklahoma, like other states prone to tornadoes, prefers to encourage the construction of shelters. The state has emphasized using federal funds to underwrite the optional construction of specially reinforced, above-ground “safe rooms” inside private homes rather than community tornado shelters.
    But building a steel room on a concrete slab adds thousands to the price of a new home in a market where a typical property is worth $108,000. And for homeowners, spending $2,500 and up to add tornado protection to existing homes often isn’t feasible without assistance in a state where the median income is $44,000 -- $8,000 below the national figure.

    My response: It is doable!


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