Most tornadoes occur in the spring, with the biggest threats in the area referred to as Tornado Alley, although they’ve occurred in every state and every month of the year. In 2020, according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, most tornadoes were in April, with 351 occurring across the Southern and Southeastern states, although May and August also experienced a significant number.
If you purchased one of the Omaha houses, you have less of a risk for a tornado than in places like Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, but there is still an average of about 57 a year in Nebraska, so you’ll want to keep it protected.
Install a Wind-Resistant Roof Structure
It’s a must to have a roof that is rated to resist strong winds. While most roofs are attached with roofing nails inserted at an angle, they can come right off during a tornado. Roofs should be attached with hurricane clips instead to create a strong connection between the house and the roof. While this is required in areas prone to hurricanes, they’re really a must in tornado-prone regions to maintain roof integrity. All materials used should be impact-resistant and wind-rated.
Eliminate Outdoor Hazards
With tornado winds potentially exceeding 300 mph, debris can easily be thrown around in every direction, which can cause severe damage to your home. It’s important to secure or remove anything that might be a hazard, such as outdoor furniture, large tree limbs that have fallen in the yard, trees that put your home or electrical lines at risk, etc. Walk around the exterior of your house to look for anything loose that might come detached and cause damage, including siding, brickwork, the roof, and the chimney. If there are any leaks, be sure they’re patched to avoid potential water damage from torrential rains that accompany tornadoes.
Windows can shatter if they’re hit by flying debris or blow off if they aren’t secured. Be sure to strengthen and protect them by installing storm shutters. Having impact-resistant windows is a great way to add an additional layer of protection as they’re less likely to shatter when struck, reducing the likelihood of greater property damage and injuries.
Brace Your Garage Door
As the garage door is your home’s largest potential opening, it’s a vulnerable point – if it’s taken out, it will completely compromise the structure of your home. Bracing products can be installed to make your garage door more wind-resistant and stronger. If you have an oversized door or multi-car garage, you should install metal stiffeners for additional support.
Keep Large Furniture and Appliances Secured
You have to consider items inside of your house too. If you have heavy furniture, large appliances, and other items that can pose a serious risk when sheltering indoors during a tornado, you’ll want to secure them. High winds, impacts from trees, and other debris could cause them to topple over. Reduce the risk by using a flexible cable, braided wire, or metal strapping to secure large appliances and your water heater. Use furniture anchors to attach bookcases, dressers, armoire, and other large pieces of furniture. You might use childproof latches or sliding bolts to keep your doors and cabinets shut, so items don’t fly out too.