Tornado Safety In Mobile Homes

Mobile homes can be deadly in a tornado. If they are in the open, their light weight and non-attachment to foundations make them roll and tumble easily in winds less than 80 mph. If they are among trees, they tend to bend around the trees (occupants and all). That is, if they aren’t crushed by trees falling on them first. The trailer here is in rather good shape. It could have looked like this.
It only took an F0-F1 to blow over and roll this mobile home.


Most tornado deaths occur in cars and mobile homes, so residents need to take special care during tornado watches.

If you live in a mobile home park, you should find out from the manager where you should go in the event of a tornado — but don’t wait until you really need the information -- ask him/her on a nice day! Mobile home parks may have a designated tornado shelter, or a steel reinforced concrete laundry room. If they don’t, you need to find another substantial structure that you can reach very quickly. You may have only seconds to get to it. The photo below shows what an 60-80 mph wind can do to to a mobile home. At 100 mph, they may start to disintegrate.

Tie-downs may help anchor a mobile home in a windstorm, but do not protect it against other objects rolling or flying into it.

Most of all, keep abreast of weather conditions and have a plan for your family’s safety.

Two articles that explore the ’stay-in-a-mobile-home or leave-in-a-car” debate were published on the web -- one by Dr. Thomas Schmidlin of Kent State University is called Closet, Car, or Ditch? The Mobile Home Dilemma During a Tornado. The other, The Alternate Dilemma: How to Explain and Encourage Counterintuitive Behavior is by Rocky Lopes of the National Headquarters of the Red Cross. They are interesting and informative reading.

The bottom frames of two trailer homes among their previous contents.
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