Storm Shelter Sales Soar In Oklahoma Following Tornado Outbreak

Tuesday, May 28th 2013, 10:29 pm
By: News 9

One week after a mammoth twister roared through Moore, orders for new storm shelters continue flooding into the offices of metro manufacturers. The high demand has some manufacturers warning their customers that they may not see their shelters until next year.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Piles of debris could be seen Tuesday piled along curbs in hard-hit areas. The piles are signs of progress and one more step to construction both above ground and underground.

Garett Howerton with Thunderground Shelters in Norman says it seems like the calls never stop.

"We've got five to six people just doing phones," Howerton said. "Still just doing our best to keep up with that."

Employees at Thunderground are seeing more than a 60 percent increase in sales, while a senior sales manager with FlatSafe Tornado Shelters tells News 9 this is the busiest spring she's seen in seven years. Tornado victim Crystal Levine is not surprised.

"I've just been trying to secure a place for us to live right now, while we're not in our home," Levine said.

Levine says once she has a minute of normalcy, she will give a storm shelter serious consideration. For others, now is the time. If 100 calls an hour at storm shelter businesses is any indication, the message of "safety first" is resonating with people like Levine. She knows a friend's shelter saved her son.

"Some people didn't get that joy of wrapping their arms around their kids like I did, and I was very blessed to be able to do that," Levine said.

If you do not have a storm shelter and do not plan on buying one, the advice is clear -- Try to find someone nearby who has one. But just in case there's not enough time, have an alternative plan.

Thunderground says if you call now, they probably can't get your shelter installed until the first of the year. FlatSafe says it is installing an average of 30 shelters a day right now to keep up with the demand.