My weatherman is awesome.  He’s on twitter and Facebook.  He’s even got his own, very interesting blog.

During a weather emergency like the recent tornado’s that leveled the south and the ones just before that which destroyed much of North Carolina he posted updates to twitter, I kid you not, every 3 minutes for two days.  The guy doesn’t sleep.

As a super geek, I have to appreciate that.

This morning WXBrad posted the following update:


To which I responded:


That’s the trick really.  WXBrad says that it’s unbelievable that folks still die (or that this many folks die) with the advanced warning that he and his peers put out. And it is. But from the other side, there’s only so much one can do.  I make good money.  Actually, I make really good money and I can’t afford it.  Most folks that I know can’t.

I suppose that it’s easy enough to point out that I’ve got that bass boat and the motorcycle and the camper and the… whatever and you’d be right.  I SHOULD have spent that money on a tornado shelter.


But that’s me.  Most of the folks killed in the recent storms think that buying Blue Bell Ice-cream over the WalMart store brand is an extravagance.  For many of them a $7,000 underground tornado shelter would cost more than the car that they use to get to work every day.  To spend $4-10,000 on something that you only get use of once or twice a year, or more likely, never use is simply unheard of.

It’s frustrating.  I want my family to be safe.  I want them to not have to worry but I also have to deal with everyday realties.  WXBrad has told us three or four times to seek shelter this spring.  I didn’t because, well, I couldn’t.  There are only so many options.  I suppose that I could have packed everyone up and found a hotel every time. But that’s $80-100 a pop so almost $500 on hotel rooms just for this spring.  I could probably swing that but most folks couldn’t.

Still, even that isn’t a guarantee.  If an EF4 or EF5 comes down the road you need to be underground or in a VERY stable structure like one of the uptown hotels.  That, of course, doubles the price if you can even get a room on short notice with thousands of others who are seeking shelter.

I dunno… frustrating.

Don’t get me wrong though,  I’m not faulting WXBrad.  Not for a second.  Every time he’s told us to find shelter this year he was absolutely right.  The guy knows his stuff and he works insane hours to make sure that everyone in the area is safe.  He stresses every time he gives the warning because he knows the dangers of “over warning” folks.  He knows what it costs.

He gets frustrated and tired when he thinks that people are ignoring him because he works very hard to only warn us when he has to, but we’re not ignoring him.  Not for a second.  During these last storms I stayed up until almost 2:30 AM watching every tweet and broadcast.  My wife was back up at 3:00 AM checking in with him and then I was up again at 5:00 watching his forecasts.

I spent most of that time trying to figure out the cost/benefit ratio of whether I should be in the Ritz Carlton in uptown charlotte, and if I were to try that, which of the pets I could maybe sneak in and which I’d have to leave.  Not an easy thing to think about.

A few times the other night I thought about stuffing everyone into the culvert under the driveway… it’s big enough, probably, and doesn’t flood even with the biggest storms so it’d probably be safer than my manufactured housing… but it’s a long way down the drive and cold, and wet.   Spending hours down there with the weather radio would suck.

Thanks Brad.  We really do appreciate the work and effort that you put into keeping us safe.  You’re just an expensive date.  Smile


4 thoughts on “Weather

  • May 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    This will do no good in old homes but as time moves on it is THE way to go. If yo do any sort of home remodeling at all this is a fairly minor additional expense to add to a remodeling project….

    In north Texas (Where i own a home and sometimes even live 🙂 ) the bedrock is quite close to the surface so underground shelters are just not possible.

    So around these parts people have taken to building “safe rooms. See the majority of tornado fatalities are not from being sucked up and blown away, they come from either flying debris or structure collapse on you.

    So in central room of of the house you simply add Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Walls it is actually a very inexpensive building method. (one of the cheapest and is taking over for entire homes for this reason)


    Then build a good solid “roof” over those icf and voila, you have a tornado shelter in that room. The ICF walls are VERY resistant to flying debris. then your “roof” over the room protects you from structure collapse. The the rest of the house collapse but in that room you are good.

    1) You do not have to run outside to get into the shelter
    2) It is not a dedicated shelter. It’s just a normal inside room (no windows) in your home that you use normally.

    Now, cinder block is very cheap and easy for even amatures to tackle. It can provide most of the benefits at an even lower cost. Now since that video is selling ICF’s you might no tthink so from that video but lots of testing at Texas Universities reports that while cinder block will not take *repeated* direct blows from the 2×4 gun but it does pretty good job FAR FAR better than wood) and the cost benefit ratio is very good.

    Anyway, I hope that gives you some thoughts my friends.

    As I said, it’s not the answer but in North Texas more and more new home are being built with the central safe room. It’s a good marketing point eh?

    (BESIDES due to the heat and cost of AC in the summer around here ICF’s are taking off for the whole home just the insulating factor alone. Tornado shelter is just another good point for them. You still need the central room with no windows though)

      • May 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm

        Heh, speeling is fer geeks.

    • May 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Very cool idea. Thinking about ways to use cinder blocks.


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