Forecast is a stormy one; do you have a safety plan? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Forecast is a stormy one; do you have a safety plan?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The forecast is a stormy one, and one Region 8 county has already been placed under a tornado watch until later this evening. 

And a recent string of tornadoes in Missouri and Oklahoma have more local homeowners considering storm shelters.

Many have seen the below-ground shelters covered with soil and grass; those are the most common in Region 8.

But Nic Smith of Tornado Shelter Systems has seen an increasing problem.

And that is, many people don't even make the effort to get into the outdoor, underground shelters due to the rain or just the amount of walking distance.

He says the above-ground shelter may be better suited for them.

"Because of mobility issues, what we try to do is put them in the garage, as close to your exit door as possible. That way you can go right from your door into your garage."

As we have seen from Monday's storms in Oklahoma, tornadoes can spin up quickly and change lives in an instant.

Over the years, building codes have become tighter, with a few houses incorporating safe rooms into the floor plan.

Local storm shelter businesses are urging people to take that next step.

Smith adds that storm shelters take up to three weeks to arrive, but only a few hours to install.

"Our shelters have been tested by Texas Tech to withstand an EF-5 tornado. They are made with 3/16ths class three bullet-resistant steel."

The main thing is to be prepared.

After the Joplin tornado, Nic says the number of orders went through the roof.

So they are offering a "lay-away" program along with some government boosts.

"FEMA is offering a thousand dollars grant for your shelter's that installed. We actually will help you with your paperwork on that."

Smith adds that all their shelters qualify for the FEMA grant.

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