In light of the tragic F-4 tornado that destroyed parts of Oklahoma yesterday, I’d like to enlighten everyone on an issue. Every time a twister rips apart the Deep South, people around the country ask, why are there no basements to take cover in?
I am originally from Louisiana. My childhood home is actually built about two feet off the ground. We get heavy and frequent rainfalls. We also sit at sea level or even below sea level in LA. Therefore, our basements would flood with rainwater.
In New Orleans, they cannot even bury their dead. They are stacked in beautiful mausoleums. Again due to being below sea level, the ground down there cannot house the dead. If graveyards cannot hold coffins in the ground, they certainly cannot hold basements. Other places, like Florida, sometimes have sinkholes. Again, the ground simply is not suitable to house a basement.
A reporter yesterday on CNN wonderfully clarified why parts of Oklahoma does not have basements: the rock in the ground is too difficult to dig through. It would require blasting in order to build a proper basement. Therefore, some home owners built a “safe room” with no windows in the house for such disasters.
So, please TV media, do not blame builders, contractors, or think Southerners are lazy or stupid. Though we have no basements, we gather in bathrooms or rooms with no windows when the black cloud spirals down from the sky. Why? Well, the bathtub has pipes stretching deep into the ground that helps anchor us in. Hallways are usually away from windows and clear of debris. They are a safer alternative than standing by flying glass and debris.
Although a basement is an ideal place to seek safety during a tornado, it just is not an option in some areas. I hope this article has provided answers to the continuing question.