5 Factors to Consider for Your Above Ground Storm Shelter

When skies turn that creepy shade of green and funnel clouds form, Midwesterners in tornado alley know exactly what to do.

Break out the binoculars and begin twister sighting.

When the sirens go off, then you seek shelter.

In-ground storm shelters populated the landscape of twister country for years, but recently the above ground storm shelter has begun to make its mark as multiple models have withstood the EF-4's and 5's just as well as the subterranean dwellings of your grandparents.

Read on to learn about five different ideas to consider when looking at an above-ground storm shelter.

Testing the Above Ground Storm Shelter

In 1971 the Fujita Scale (also known as the Fujita-Pearson scale) was developed. this scale allows weather experts to rate tornadoes from a one to a five based on the amount of damage they cause in a community.

An F0 tornado, for example, will break branches off trees whereas an F5 tornado will lift strong frame houses off their foundations and carry them a considerable distance.

Always check the safety ratings to see if the shelter has been tested in circumstances up to an F-5 tornado.

The National Wind Institute at the University of Texas makes testing shelters their job. The American Tornado Shelter Association also can give its stamp of approval on your chosen product.


Companies sell shelters based on how many people they can hold. Whether you're a single who plans on staying single or a couple hoping for a large family, consider the amount of room you need.

Look for an above ground shelter with expandability options. Many modular products offer this feature, allowing consumers to purchase and install more panels and thus make their room bigger as their need for space grows.


Consider where you can put your shelter. Many people wait to enter their underground shelters because they just cannot access them quickly.

As you look for the perfect above ground shelter, look for one you can put in a place you can access quickly. Tornadoes come in hot, and you rarely have time to run across the yard to find a door in the ground.


Gone are the days when people stay in one place their entire lives. When you spend thousands of dollars installing an above ground storm shelter, consider if you can take it with you when you move.

Look for a shelter with relocation capacity. While an above ground concrete shelter has these nice, thick walls, it weighs a ton, and you cannot take it with you when you move across the state.

Modular above ground shelters have relocation capacity.


An above ground shelter may cost you quite a bit. Even a small amount of research reveals you will find you can try to build your own safe room above ground for a fraction of the cost of commercial structures.

But few people have the capability of building an above ground tornado shelter that can give you the peace of mind that a commercial structure gives.

Your homemade above ground shelter does not undergo any product testing until the debris from the tornado outside your door actually hits it, making you and your family guinea pigs inside a structure of your own making.

Above ground safe rooms can range in cost from $4,000 to $73,000 depending on how big they are. You may not have that amount of cash lying around, so companies offer finance plans, allow you to have peace of mind immediately.

How Atlas Can Help

Atlas storm shelters fit the bill with the best ideas for your above ground storm shelter. Contact us to find the best tested modular storm shelters that will keep you and your family safe.

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