Are Manufactured Homes Safe in a Tornado?

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Manufactured homes built today should be strong enough to withstand tornadoes if built to HUD Code and take extra care of their anchors and tie-downs. However, due to extreme weather reaching unpredictable magnitudes, it is safer to take precaution and note the evacuation safety tips by your local government weather agencies.

Image from Stunned drinkers outside Suffolk village pub witness a wild tornado circling their heads | Daily Mail Online

The Resiliency of Manufactured Homes Today

With the stringent standards given by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1976, manufactured homes are continuously improved to make them more resilient against natural calamities.

Dick Moore, owner of Dick Moore Homes for over fifty years truly believes manufactured homes are just as safe as site built homes in tornados. (1)

“It tears up site builts just as bad. The media just likes to jump on those mobile homes because it makes a big mess when one of them goes through a trailer park,..Well that’s a mobile home right there, and it’s been right there for 24 years, and I’m in it. That’s happened a number of times. I didn’t move. I stayed right there in it,” – Dick Moore (Are Manufactured Homes Safe During a Tornado? (kait8.com)

If you’re situated in an area infamous for natural disaster cases, call in an inspector to check your tie-downs and anchors are secure. As with tornados, the fear would be the home picking up wind from underneath and getting ripped off, your tie-downs and anchors are what will keep you tethered. Local building experts and professionals may have other techniques as well on how to better prepare your home for extreme weather in the area. (2)

Understand what anchors your home down better in “Do Manufactured Homes Need Tie Downs?”

Also check out this video by LA Tony K, showing the true strength of manufactured homes being tested. Manufactured Home Hit by a Tornado and High Winds – YouTube

The video above also debunks some theories as to the factory made homes attracting tornadoes themselves. This is simply because most tornadoes hit rural areas, which is where you’ll find most manufactured homes (or any standalone home really). Windowless, underground rooms will always prove safest in the face of a tornado. (3)

Not to say that manufactured homes are completely useless in the face of natural calamities, it’s just precautions that any site built homeowner should take as well.

To put you more at ease with your manufactured home’s resiliency, check out our piece, “Can Manufactured Homes Withstand Hurricanes?”

Just to be Absolutely Safe!

Being descended from a mobile home and primarily made of wood, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take extra care that a tornado might be too much for your manufactured home.

Image from How to Take Shelter | Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency (tuscaloosacountyema.org)

When you are in a mobile home, you are 15 to 20 times more likely to be killed in comparison to when you are in a permanent home. The National Weather Service Center states, this is regardless of how well your mobile or manufactured home is built, the anchor system failures are the primary cause of the majority of fatalities. In severe tornadoes and thunderstorms, these homes can be destroyed if they become airborne. (4)

Plan of Action you must take ASAP if you have a manufactured or mobile home are the following by the National Weather Service Training Center: Also be sure to always be monitoring the latest weather forecasts. (4, 5)

  1. Locate a Safe Evacuation Structure: Find the nearest shelter. Even better, make sure there is one near you before moving into your lot. These can be designated tornado shelters or public community buildings — buildings made with reinforced concrete.
  2. Time Out your Route to the Chosen Shelter: Note the route and how long it takes to get from your home to the evacuation site. If you can simulate the drive, even better. Also bear in mind these roads may be filled with heavier traffic than usual in times of crisis and calamity.
  3. Be Up To Date on Notifications: Get a NOAA Weather Radio, this will sound alerting you to severe weather warnings 24 hours a day..also sign up for severe weather text/sms and email alerts
  4. Coordinate a Day Before: Once tornadoes are predicted for your area, ensure the evacuation shelter you chose is available and can be reached. Coordinate with family and friends whose homes have a basement if you can stay with them, make sure these homes are accessible to you 24/7.
  5. Evacuate Once A Tornado Watch is Issued: Best to do an evacuation even before this news is released, as it may be too dangerous to evacuate once the warnings come out.
  6. Worst Case, Take Cover in a Ditch/Low Lying Area: Do this as your last resort if you do not have time to move out of your manufactured home elsewhere. The idea is to stay as low as you can for the debris to fly over you as debris causes most injuries and deaths.
Image from Pinterest

 

References

  1. Carter, W. (2008, May 15). Are manufactured homes safe during a Tornado? https://www.kait8.com Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.kait8.com/story/8326308/are-manufactured-homes-safe-during-a-tornado/
  2. Trembath, N. (2020, July 15). Modern manufactured homes are as safe as site-built homes during tornadoes and Hurricanes. Triad Financial Services. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.triadfs.com/news/modern-manufactured-homes-are-as-safe-as-site-built-homes-during-tornadoes-and-hurricanes
  3. K, T. (2012, June 25). Manufactured home hit by a tornado and high winds. YouTube. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpZq6-fmoYc
  4. NWSTrainingCenter. (2020, July 30). Tornado safety for mobile and manufactured home residents. YouTube. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6g_ZNdSzFQ
  5. State of Missouri Government. (2012, March 6). Tornado safety for mobile homes – Missouri StormAware. YouTube. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeOsOxecOaw