How much can a storm shelter withstand? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

How strong is a storm shelter?

The United States is home to more tornadoes than any other country, and storm shelters can be the difference between life and death for many people.

So we decided to check out a demonstration of a 'direct hit' storm shelter to see if it can withstand nature's wrath.

Crews from Valley Storm Shelters in Scottsboro, Alabama conducted the test to see whether their 5x5 above-ground shelter could withstand assaults that emulated the force of an EF-5 tornado.

The tests included crashing a remote-controlled car into the shelter, shooting several rounds of bullets at it, releasing 2,000 pounds of bricks and 4,000 pounds of lumber on it, then dropping a car on it from 75 feet.

A jet propulsion engine also forced wind power with speeds of up to 600 miles per hour at the shelter.

President Kateri Linahan said even if the shelter became damaged during the test, it would help to improve the model.

But the shelter survived all of the assaults. Weighing in at about 4,000 pounds, the shelter's walls are made of quarter-inch thick steel and are secured to the ground with several bolts.

If you're caught in a tornado and can't get to a shelter, FEMA says you're safest in a low, flat location like a ditch. Never seek shelter under a bridge or overpass since these structures can funnel the wind and flying debris that causes the most injuries and fatalities.

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