WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

I often see suggestions on how to survive in case of a tornado. Such things as get away from doors and windows and get to an inner room of the house. I've never seen anyone suggest whether or not it would be good to go to the crawl space of my house. So, could you advise me whether or not its best to stay in the main part of the house or go to the crawlspace (assuming there is time to get there safely)?

Posted June 20, 2007 7:44 a.m. EDT

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      Wade,   While one could always posit a rare scenario in which the crawl space might end up safer than other parts of the house, it is just as likely if not more so that a small interior (windowless) room or hallway on the lowest floor of the house, as typically recommended, would generally be a safer bet. For one thing, if a tornado is bearing down close enough that you know one is coming, moving to the crawlspace would in many cases involve going outside first to get to it, potentially exposing you to flying debris. A potentially more serious concern is that it is quite possible for strong tornadic winds to shift the house a few feet in any direction while leaving it at least partially intact. This could result in the floor of the house "pancaking" to the ground or tilting down hard into one corner or another of the crawlspace, and in these events it would likely be much better to find yourself above the floor than below it.