Tips for Building a Storm-Resistant Home in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is known for its rich Native American history, oil production, and unfortunately for its severe weather. The state is part of the infamous Tornado Alley, which stretches across the Great Plains and is home to some of the most active tornado regions in the world.
Part of living in Oklahoma means being ready for the worst that nature has to offer. Building a storm-resistant home is a necessity in order to keep your loved ones safe.
Understanding Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley refers to the area in the central U.S. known for frequent tornado occurrences. Parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska all make up Tornado Alley.
Located near the heart of tornado alley, Oklahoma averages around 67 twisters each year. Since 1950, Oklahoma has had more than 4,484 tornadoes.
The loss of life and property is devastating, but has prompted better systems like the National Weather Service’s tornado watch and warning system.
The frequent damage has also prompted stronger building codes to better withstand the damage from tornadoes.
Tornado season typically runs from April to June each year but tornadoes can occur at any time throughout the year. As warm humid air from the Gulf of Mexico mixes with cool dry air from Canada and warm dry air from Mexico, atmospheric instability occurs.
This mixture can turn deadly with powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes forming as the dense cold air is pushed over the warm air. The warm air then rises through the colder air causing an updraft that can begin to rotate. As the rotation speed increases, a tornado can form.
Basements May Not Be Enough; Consider ICFs
Tornados may be a fact of life for Oklahomans, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing that can be done. While stopping tornadoes from forming may be a tall order, building structures to resist a tornado’s deadly power can certainly be done.
Many people assume their basement provides plenty of protection from whatever nature may throw at them. A basement can keep you safe during a tornado, but does not offer any protection for the rest of your home.
The best way to protect your home and your family from severe weather is to build a home that is specifically designed to withstand high winds and flying debris
One of the best options for building a storm-resistant home in Oklahoma is with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). ICF homes are made from interlocking blocks of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation that are filled with concrete. The result is a strong, energy-efficient home that can withstand winds up to 250 mph. Fox Blocks ICFs are strong enough to pass ICC 500 Missile Impact Testing.
ICFs are a great option for storm resistance because they are incredibly strong and durable. They are also resistant to fire, termites, and mold.
This makes them a great choice for Oklahoma residents who are concerned about not only tornadoes, but also wildfires and floods. ICFs also help insulation efficiency, which is highly relevant in the cold winters and blistering summers in Oklahoma.
Safe Rooms: The Ultimate Protection
For even more protection, ICF blocks can be used to create a safe room within your home. This is a designated area that is specifically designed to provide protection from flying debris and high winds.
Safe rooms work by providing a continuous load path and impact resistance. A continuous load path ensures that when wind loads attack the roof, the loads will transfer to the shear walls and into the foundation. Safe rooms also must prevent being overturned by being exceptionally well anchored to the home’s foundation.
The steel-reinforced concrete nature of ICF blocks allows the shear walls to provide a continuous load path while also resisting the strong lateral loads from wind blowing on the safe room’s walls. The walls must keep their integrity and have the strength to support the roof, while concurrently moving the loads to the foundation.
Look no further than real-life examples of ICF homes that have made it through terrible storms for proof of their strength. By building your safe room with ICFs, you can ensure that your family will be safe during a tornado or other severe weather event.
Fox Blocks is recognized as a compliant material to meet construction standards for FEMA P361 and ICC 500 for wind areas up to 250 mph.
Craft a Truly Storm Resistant Home in Oklahoma with Fox Blocks
If you are considering building a home in Oklahoma, make sure it is storm-resistant. ICF reinforced concrete homes provide exceptional safety and security while also being incredibly energy efficient and easy to maintain.
Fox Blocks is a leading manufacturer of ICF systems and has been providing homeowners with safe, energy-efficient homes for over 20 years. Contact Fox Blocks today to learn more about how they can help you build the storm-resistant home of your dreams!