Despite The Threat of Tornados, Fewer Iowa Homes Have Basements
It's a lesson that you learn quickly living in Iowa and other areas of the Midwest. When you hear the sirens blare in the spring and summer, its time to take cover. And the place that you're taught to head to during a storm like a tornado is your basement. But despite more and more strong storms raging across the state each year, fewer Iowa homes are being built with basements, and it could be costing lives.
Take some of the residents who live on Carver Road in Winterset, Iowa. When the EF4 tornado ripped through that neighborhood back on March 5th, having a basement proved to be a deciding factor in who lived, and who died. According to the Des Moines Register, none of the three properties along Carver Road where people died in the storm had basements. In fact, despite the state of Iowa is included in what is called 'Tornado Alley', fewer and fewer Iowa homes are being built with basements.
So why on earth wouldn't you include a basement in your new home? The Register reports that saying no to a basement is one way of keeping home building costs down. Homebuilding trends are also leaning away from basements, as retiring seniors want single-level housing. In fact, the Register reports that in a recent search on Zillow of homes currently for sale in the state, only 35% had basements.
The National Weather Service says that if you don't have a basement, extra precautions are necessary. Get to an interior room, get low, and cover your head and body to protect yourself from flying debris. The Register reports that commercial projects and schools in Iowa are required to have a shelter room if no basement if present. Homes do not.