Weather experts anticipate active tornado season.
Thomasville, GA (PRWEB) March 14, 2012
According to the National Weather Service, the number of tornadoes that hit the U.S. in 2011 represented an increase over the historical average. The devastation was overwhelming, and the loss of life enormous--the highest in nearly a half century.
As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, an anticipated warm spring has meteorologists worried about the possibility of a highly active tornado season. “This year conditions are more conducive than normal for extreme weather,” says Joe Lundberg, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com in State College, Pa. “We are getting off to an early and nasty start.”
The article goes on to observe that many communities are looking to become more resilient, preparing for violent weather including tornadoes. One community, Parkersburg, Iowa, is seen as a model community where nearly every household has a storm shelter. This level of preparation is admirable but far from the norm.
According to Lucas Stewart, owner of Survive-a-Storm Shelters in Thomasville, Georgia, "As a leading tornado shelter manufacturer and major FEMA contractor, it never ceases to amaze us how our phones start to ring after tornadoes strike. Things get pretty slow in the storm shelter business during the fall and early to mid winter, and then once the first outbreak strikes, our website lights up and the phones start ringing off the hook."
Stewart observes that the time to prepare for tornado season is well in advance of the start of the season. Survive-a-Storm Shelters is a subsidiary of Harbor Enterprises which holds a current and active $153 million contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (FEMA) to provide disaster relief housing. The company is one of only several companies in the United States that has been awarded contracts for housing that has met the agency's strict indoor pollution standards. Survive-a-Storm Shelters is now applying its expertise to the disaster preparedness industry.
According to company spokesperson Matt Williams, "It is nice for a change to be helping people to prepare for natural disasters instead of simply responding to them when they do happen. Of course, our knowledge and experience as disaster mitigation and response experts gives us a certain perspective on the value of preparing for violent storms. We do our best to convey this sense of urgency to prospective customers."
Survive-a-Storm Shelters has been building tornado shelters at a steady clip in its efforts to stockpile inventory for the coming season. The company manufactures steel underground storm shelters that accommodate up to 16 people and above ground safe rooms that will shield up to 16 people. The company's storm shelters are certified by professional engineers in numerous states as being compliant with FEMA320 and ICC-500 standards, and the shelters have undergone extensive testing at the Wind Research Laboratory at Texas Tech University.
According to Mr. Stewart, the company has begun to see a dramatic increase in the number of inquiries by businesses, municipal authorities, and homeowner associations for large-scale community storm shelters to protect as many as 100 people. "Few companies in the country are qualified to work with local architects, engineers, and builders to fabricate and install community storm shelters. As a major FEMA contractor and an experienced tornado shelter manufacturer, Survive-a-Storm Shelters possesses this knowledge and experience."