Twisters keep returning, but Oklahoma still short on shelters

Orlando Sentinel - Shelters are “highly recommended” for storm-prone areas, according to Larry Tanner, research associate for the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech University who studies how shelters behave in fierce storms. He believes public buildings should have shelters or safe rooms in areas prone to large storms.

(Reuters) - The people of central Oklahoma know all too well the destructive power of a tornado, but when a big one rolled toward the town of Moore again on Monday, residents had few basements and storm shelters to run to when the alarm sounded, officials said.

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The reasons for the lack of below-ground shelter range from the financial to the cultural to the geographical. Basements, for example, a staple of homes in much of America, are rarely built in the region. But federal and state programs have aimed to reduce the shelter gap in recent years.

Shelters are "highly recommended" for storm-prone areas, according to Larry Tanner, research associate for the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech University who studies how shelters behave in fierce storms. He believes public buildings should have shelters or safe rooms in areas prone to large storms.

"Schools should all be built with shelters," said Tanner, adding, "I would prefer my taxpayer money being directed toward shelters rather than AstroTurf on ball fields."

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