Safe Place: Your home's safest place in severe weather - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Safe Place: Your home's safest place in severe weather

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The months of March and April can bring the most severe and intense weather to the Tennessee Valley. The months of March and April can bring the most severe and intense weather to the Tennessee Valley.
LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The months of March and April can bring the most severe and intense weather to the Tennessee Valley.

You might have everything you need to receive the advanced warning, but finding the safest place in your home might not be as easy as you think.

After a tornado hits, I often go out and inspect the damage. I want to make sure the places I am telling people to go are holding up.

You may remember the house I walked through after the April 27th tornadoes back in 2011. A massive oak tree had fallen on the house. The framing of the house did its job and supported the load of the tree. The safest places were a small hallway closet and a bathroom in the center of the home.

To begin thinking about the safest place in severe weather in your house, you have to look beyond the walls - beyond the drywall that's hung on those walls and to the framing of the house itself.

Small rooms support a lot of weight on top of them, and that's why we talk about getting into an interior closet. You definitely want to stay away from the windows.

Last week, I met up with Jeremy Walls in east Limestone County and he showed me where his family seeks shelter during the storm.

He said when they have severe weather, when the tornado sirens sound, they go to a closet in his home.

The rooms are on the back side of the house. A lot of the storms come from the southwest, so we don't want to go to those rooms because they are on the outside edge. On one end of Walls' house is the smallest, most compact part of the house: the center of the house.

Under normal circumstances, the closet is great because it has the load bearing structure - the smallest room allows it to hold a lot of weight. The best thing about this closet is if a tree falls on the house, it is going to support the weight.

However, my biggest concern is a 2x4 or other debris coming right through the door. It's not a metal door, so it's not going to hold anything back.

Therefore, I think the safest place is actually going to be the rear bathroom. As the debris or even just high wind starts to come through the window, it has to go through two additional walls before reaching that bathroom, and what that does is decrease the wind speed as it moves in this direction.

Not every storm or tornado that tracks across the Tennessee Valley is going to be capable of ripping your home from its foundation. Some are going to be weaker, what I call hallway storms.

But others are going to be stronger, and those are the ones that you need to seek shelter for.

The important thing is to know where the safest place in your house is.

Most of the tornadoes we have in the Tennessee Valley are totally survivable if you heed the warning and go to your safe place.

Only one percent of all tornadoes every year in the United States are rated EF-5. These tornadoes pack winds over 200 mph. The only safe place with these devastating tornadoes is a storm shelter.

Mobile homes are vulnerable to all types of tornadoes and extreme high wind events. If you live in a mobile home, you need to leave your home and seek shelter elsewhere.

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