Has anyone made or considered a very low cost Underground Storm Shelter ? Need some advice.

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Pete C. wrote:

Why bury it? I doubt any storm could damage a cargo container.
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HeyBub wrote: ...

You've never seen results of an EF-5 tornado, then.
--
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dpb wrote:

Hell, around here a good storm that doesn't even produce a tornado very frequently knocks over the empty semitrailer that construction companies park at their work sites as portable billboards. Quite common to drive by after a good storm and see them on their sides.
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Pete C. wrote:

Oh, simple rollover is easy...I was speaking of real damage. One would presume if it was intended as storm shelter usage it would have been tied down so rollover wasn't much an issue.
We're in the king of the straight-line winds and t-storm country so know that quite well....today and tomorrow are "wait and see" what develops" days for at least isolated severe.
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dpb wrote:

Well, sure, I've seen the damage. I've not seen amy damage done by an F5 to a cargo container, though. The wind certainly is not going to rip apart a container nor is anything airborne by said wind going to penetrate the walls. A storm might tip it over - maybe even move it a few feet. I'd worry more about the cat inside the container than what was going on outside.
In the alternative to a cargo container, how about a concrete septic tank (which is designed to be buried)?
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HeyBub wrote:

I'm not sure what container you're thinking -- the storage containers I'm thinking of will prevent most penetration certainly, I wouldn't go so far as _no_ penetration or partial crushing. I'm trying to think if there were any at Greensburg; can't recall one, specifically.
For the septic tank, unless it were reinforced which I don't think they generally are, I don't believe they would be rated adequate although certainly again it would stand up to a lot more than just ordinary stick-frame construction.
I'd suggest looking at the Texas A&M site for construction guidelines; they're about the most comprehensive I'm aware of.
We use the basement and hope it doesn't lift the entire house off...
What _can_ happen in the truly monsters is simply beyond comprehension until one sees some of the results first hand.
At Greensburg a couple of the more incredible were a full-size automobile deposited on the top of the courthouse (a 1900s three-story structure w/ 10-ft ceilings high).
The second was a new JD STS 70-series combine was rolled/carried and ended up almost eight miles from the dealership equipment lot from whence it started. These puppies weigh 30-32,000 lb base weight w/o the header. This one didn't have a header on it and was essentially nothing but a rolled-up ball of green metal to look at afterwards. It was several days before it was located it was so far from where anybody had any thought of what might have happened to it.
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dpb wrote:

Yes, a cargo container *underground* will be safe from most any tornado damage, as well as being plenty big for comfort.
Cargo container walls are fairly strong, however anyone familiar with them has seen plenty with gouges and holes poked in them and 300 MPH tornado propelled missiles will certainly penetrate unless you back that sheetmetal with a foot of solid cement. Underground there are no tornado missile threats.
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I thuink they are - but you are brying it anyway - plenty strong enough - like concrete house foundation.

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wrote:

Have you seen tornado damage up close? Even tying it down with heavy logging chain to burried anchors is no guarantee it will stay where you put it - and no guarantee it will stay intact either.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote: ...

Oh, you could tie it down easily enough.
Penetration and integrity would depend on actual construction and materials, primarily door connections, etc.
I'm just not sure what their actually built from to judge absolute survivability. As noted above, Texas A&M has good data/guidelines on structure requirements and building techniques.
The effects _can_ be designed for, it just takes far more for the truly extreme event than most folks can comprehend.
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dpb wrote:

A "standard" cargo containers is made from 1/4" reinforced steel plate, weighs 8,800 pounds, holds up to 67,000 pounds of stuff, and is designed to be stacked ten or more high.
Containers routinely sustain sixty foot waves moving at 30 knots (which has got to pack more energy than air moving at 300 mph).
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HeyBub wrote:

Not much would be likely to penetrate. I'm not sure what A&M uses as their design requirement otomh. The one difference is the flying pointy-sticks in the tornado environment not likely seen mid-ocean. It's that high-velocity projectile that's the penetration danger and it can have a fairly small cross-sectional area so is more dangerous than the bigger stuff from that standpoint.
I do remember the 30,000-lb combine ending up 8 miles away at Greensburg. That's 3X the weight in probably roughly same sail area. What _can_ happen is indeed truly incredible.
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I saw a picture of a 40 foot semi trailer spun in like a drill about 20 feet - with the cab still attached. Miraculously, when removed, very little damage to the rear of the trailer. I have also personally seen Wheat straw driven right through a hydro pole. Pink fiberglass insulation half way through concrete bricks
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dpb wrote:

Penetration is not an issue, everyone seems to have missed that I am going to *bury* the container.
The FEMA publication I noted was mostly produced with T A&M tornado lab data.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Apparently you missed the "bury" in my sentence above. A 5,000# cargo container 9' underground and capped with a concrete patio aint' going anywhere in a tornado.
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HeyBub:

Not everyone lives where the weather is mild.
Here we suffer from hurricanes which bring the double threat of winds and flooding so a buried container isn't safe unless it's watertight.
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Mac Cool wrote:

Earth-berm it, and tie it down with steel beams bolted to telephone poles stuck in the ground on both sides, like they do with trailers near the 'beach' in Louisiana. Basically a prefab storm cellar, just above ground. Put an 'L' berm in front of the door end. with the opening away from the prevailing wind. Google the Army tech manual for mortar-attack bunkers in forward areas- that is basically what you are looking for. They do it with prefab concrete panels and sandbags, and half-bury it.
-- aem sends...
aem sends...
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What kind of "storm?" Refuge from a tornado is way different than safety from a hurricane.
It's fairly easy to construct something the size of a closet in the corner of the garage that will withstand anything a hurricane can throw at it (except, maybe, rising water). I think these can even be reinforced sufficiently to withstand a tornado.
In tornado country, a perfectly suitable shelter can be built by digging a hole, covering it with plywood, and putting a layer of sod on top. No walls, no waterproofing.
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Two things to consider: One, this thing is going to be used to save your life. Make it as cheap as you can with as flimsy materials as you can find. Two, you may have to spend several hours in there, so make it cramped, wet, dark, dirty, mouldy, and smelly.
That shouldn't cost a lot.
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Have a septic tank manufacturer nearby? They all occaisionally make a "leaker" - the concrete doesn't completely fill in one of the corners etc. They generally have to break them up and scrap them, or sell them to someone to use as a "bunker" Bury one and install a larger access hatch and you are all set.
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