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Many Big Country homes are being built with a little added protection against severe storms

By Chelsea Humphrey, chumphrey@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 11 2013 07:46:05 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 11 2013 07:48:28 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Many storm rooms can withstand winds from an EF 5 tornado and are now being added to homes that are under construction.

Custom home builders are installing rooms that are made of reinforced walls and concrete ceilings.

These rooms are designed to stay standing, even if the rest of the home comes down in a tornado.

Joe Waldrop, owner of Junction Builders, showed us around a storm room built by his company.

"Basically you're in a bank vault with six inches of solid concrete reinforced on all the exterior walls and the ceiling" Waldrop said.

He goes on to tell us that more and more requests have been coming in for these storm rooms.

"It's sort of like an insurance policy that you have but you hope you never have to use".

While it's been quite some time since the Big Country saw a large tornado outbreak, new homeowners are choosing to play it safe.

Texas Tech University tests structures like these at their Wind Science Research and Engineering Center.

Here, they batter the structures with 2x4's at spped comparable to EF 5 tornadoes.

Many of the custom home builders who install storm rooms say that their rooms are designed with those specifics in mind.