by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
In view of the aftermath of the tornadoes of 2012 that ripped through Alabama and other Midwestern States of the Union I can but begin to wonder whether in some areas it might be a good idea to reconsider the way they built houses on the Prairie in the old day.
They were mostly below ground and with some of today's materials, I would think, they would be rather even tornado proof. I would even go as far as to suggest that in those days they were, more or less, tornado proof, as the roofs were heavy, covered with sods and soil.
What amazes me also is that – one – the homes in the tornado areas of the USA are either wood or, worse still, mobile homes and – two – that most no longer have a tornado shelter. The latter is extremely strange as the tornadoes have not diminished; to the contrary, they seem to be getting more frequent and more severe. But, as they say, there is no accounting for stupidity.
So, suggestions for the tornado areas of the United States and elsewhere would be, other than moving out of the areas and abandoning a vast section of the country:
Build homes differently by taking aboard the lessons from the past
Abandon the idea of using mobile homes and “matchwood” homes in tornado areas
Have a storm shelter again under or just behind the home
Earth-berthed homes of the Earth Ship and Hobbit House style might also be something to consider besides the underground home that was common on the Prairies.
Those two also should provide a good degree of protection against tornadoes; in fact, I would suggest that they could withstand most of not indeed all.
OK, you say, but how do we deal with the towns?
That is a good question but my suggestion would be to complete redesign at least those areas that have been flattened recently in such a way that they are more resilient and resistant to tornadoes.
Wooden clapboard houses and trailers not for tornado-proof dwellings make, so to speak, and even brick built homes will lose their roofs and more, as can be seen by the schools and other public building of modern design and build that suffered.
Some of the real old ideas of living in certain areas, including some parts of the open plains of the American Midwest might have the answer to the predicament of tornadoes.
In addition to that they also are much more environmentally friendly than many of the other ones. Being shielded by earth makes for a warmer dwelling in winter and a cooler one in summer.
Maybe the old ways can teach us a few things...