Joe Birch's Force of Nature, Part 1 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Joe Birch's Force of Nature, Part 1

After early April's tornados, many Mid-Southerners began looking for life-saving structures that could withstand such a deadly force of nature.

Dennis Dozier's Dyer County dream home disappeared April 2nd.

"I had a 5,000 square foot brick house three stories high sitting right here and in less than 10 seconds, it was gone," he said.

A basement saved Dozier and his wife from the force of nature raging outside. Now, deciding whether to re-build, Dozier says a storm shelter will be top priority.

"We won't have a house without a basement or a storm shelter or a safe room or something," he said.

Larry Tanner investigates tornado outbreaks for the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. "We know from our storm investigations, we're finding above-ground safe rooms in a lot of these storms surviving quite well," Tanner said.

Storm shelter makers send samples to Tanner's lab so researchers can see which structures hold up to the storm.

In one test, even though an armour plated door had three dead bolts, two of them failed.

Back in Tennessee, business has been up more than 110% since the early April twisters at Fain Storm Shelters in Jackson. Nikki and Kenneth Jowers of Newbern have yet to landscape around their newly placed unit, but they feel safer already.

"Just knowing we have a safer place to go than a bedroom closet," said Kenneth Jowers.

As the tests in Texas prove, you need much more than a closet door to survive the force of nature.

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