Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ways To Survive Tornadoes And Hurricanes

Tornadoes in Tornado Alley in the USA, or tornadoes anywhere, do not need to be as dangerous as to live in as they are now. This is where disaster risk reduction could really make life better. Storm shelters in tornado alley are generally underground because it is safer that way. 

If your whole home is underground it will be safer for you when a tornado goes by.

Building an underground home in tornado alley is a form of disaster risk reduction. I do not understand why most, or all people who live in Tornado Alley, are not already living in underground homes. If you live in Tornado Alley, I hope you will read, Mike Oehler's book, "The $50 & Up Underground House Book". John Hait’s book, "PASSIVE ANNUAL HEAT STORAGE, improving the Design of Earth Shelters" is another one that could make life in Tornado Alley much better for residents.

Mike Oehler includes plans for a root cellar that also serves as an emergency shelter. It is directly connected to an underground home. The root cellar not only works as a storm shelter, but would serve as a nuclear fallout shelter as well. Unlike many storm shelters I have seen photos and videos of, you would not even have to risk going outside to get to the shelter that Mike Oehler designed. 

I think this shelter would also work for hurricanes, so far. Hurricanes are rapidly increasing in size, frequency, and strength, so normal shelters, including this one, will soon be inadequate. When that happens, disaster risk reduction would be something like, "Don't be there when the hurricane hits."

I graphed hurricanes 20 years ago. That graph showed me that hurricanes will eventually reach wind speeds of 650 miles per hour. I do not want to be anywhere near one of those things. I do not think evacuation of a large urban area would be possible in time. This is why I think we should strongly encourage people to stop rebuilding in places that get destroyed by hurricanes. 

After my graph scared stuff out of me, I asked a math whiz to check my figures. I hoped they were wrong. He said the figures were right. He asked my permission to show it to a meteorologist friend of his. I gave permission. 

The meteorologist informed us that my graph told him something I did not know about it. I had included the air pressure at the center of the hurricanes in the graph. That told the meteorologist that when the exterior wind speed of hurricanes reaches 650 miles per hour, the air pressure at the center of the hurricane will be close enough to zero to make the hurricane into a giant vacuum cleaner powerful enough to suck up a mature tree out of the ground, roots and all. Then it would pull up all the topsoil down to bedrock.

That really boggled my mind. It also made me more interested in leaving California. I don't like oceans nearly as much as I used to. Hurricanes come to you with your ocean view. Our larger and meaner hurricanes will cover a lot more areas that are not currently bothered by hurricanes.

I did some research on shelters that could make it possible to survive a 650 mph hurricane. It would have to be cut into bedrock and it would have to have a series of right angle turns at the entrance to stop people from being vacuumed out of it. I had been thinking of a giant door like a huge bank safe. I was relieved that the right angle turns would take care of making the people inside safe. The right angle turns seem cheaper and easier to me.

If people insist on rebuilding in the path of hurricanes, I would like for them not to get killed. That means building shelters in bedrock with right angle turns. That is probably not going to be cheap.  I thought that towns that are impoverished from rebuilding their towns over and over, might get volunteers to use picks and chisels to make safe shelters. A 650 mph hurricane would not leave a lot of survivors unless they were in a bedrock shelter.

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