Evaluation of shelter performance following the 2013 Moore tornado

Pataya L. Scott, Daan Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Moore, Oklahoma was hit by an EF5 tornado on May 20, 2013. The tornado track slightly overlapped with two previous tornadoes that occurred on May 3, 1999 and May 8, 2003 respectively. A research team from Texas Tech University was deployed to investigate the performance of shelters based on observation of their post-storm conditions. Sixty-one shelter units were further documented by size, manufacturer, and date of installation if available. Then they were crossed referenced with the external databases to determine their compliance with design and construction standards by the International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association and/or criteria from the Federal Emergency Management Agency publications. Wind intensity was estimated for each shelter location using the EF scale. Results showed a marked increase in the number of exterior underground shelters as well as the popularity of a new in-garage floor underground shelter design. All of the units provided protection for their occupants with no loss of life reported. However, one older shelter had a door failure due to neglect of maintenance. Recommendations were made to improve future performance of shelters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-381
Number of pages13
JournalWind and Structures, An International Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Moore
  • Oklahoma 2013 tornado
  • Safe room
  • Shelter
  • Storm shelter
  • Tornado


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