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Are mobile homes safe during severe weather?

Severe weather can happen any time of the year. It's important to know where to take shelter well before the storm starts bearing down on you.

Mobile homes have developed a reputation for being unsafe. Recent studies have shown that roughly 40% of tornado fatalities have occurred in mobile homes, while only 5-10% of the population lives in them. Why is that?

Gale Blomenkamp, assistant fire chief for the Boone County Fire Protection District and member of Missouri Task Force 1, has seen the damage up close. He has noticed the outer edges of damage paths seem to vary in what structures receive damage.

https://youtu.be/dWn2j72sGOs

Mobile homes are a great, affordable way of living. However, it is strongly recommended that you anchor them to the foundation they're set on. However, tests have shown that those straps can fail when you reach wind speeds of 110 mph.

Enhanced Fujita scale

110 mph winds would cover EF-0 and EF-1 strength tornadoes. That would protect you from 342 out of 506 documented tornadoes on record in Mid-Missouri, dating back to the 1800s.

By the numbers

Highest number of strong tornadoes in Mid-Missouri
CountyEF-0 to EF-1EF-2 to EF-5Total% Strong
Audrain21143540
Benton1862425
Boone22214349
Callaway35104522
Camden1562129
Chariton861443
Cole871547
Cooper1431718
Gasconade741136
Howard52729
Macon981747
Maries43743
Miller2542914
Moniteau1762326
Monroe1982730
Montgomery16112741
Morgan1572232
Osage1141527
Pettis27113829
Phelps1772429
Pulaski1061638
Randolph62825
Saline1382138

It's important to know what to do when severe weather strikes. When in a Tornado Watch, ingredients are in place to produce a tornado. If you're in a mobile home, start to think about where you could go that is sturdier. A tornado warning is issued when one is thought to be on the ground, when one needs to seek shelter.

https://youtu.be/PRjkz4B64V0

Other shelters to consider:

  • A near-by friend or family member
  • Community shelter
  • Gas station up the road
https://youtu.be/sNwhGdIFmJ4
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Kevin Schneider

Kevin Schneider gives the latest forecast each weekday morning on ABC 17 News.

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