SOMERVILLE, Tenn. — The threat of more severe weather is in the forecast for Wednesday as communities across the Mid-South continue recovery efforts following Friday’s deadly round of tornadoes.
At Express Shelters in Somerville, the heat and the pressure is on for workers to produce tornado shelters.
The family-owned and operated business turns out shelters starting at $5,600 for a medium unit that can hold six to eight adults up to $8,000 and higher for specially built safe rooms.
“Tornado shelters EF-5 tested at Texas Tech University’s Wind Science Institute, above-ground safe rooms, and underground garage floor shelters,” said Jonathan Bryant with Express Shelters.
Jonathan Bryant said shelter technology has changed from where underground was the only option to now above-ground safe rooms being more in demand.
“They don’t have to get down a flight of stairs at five o’clock in the morning or two-thirty in the morning, whenever a storm is coming through, in a hurry,” he said.
He said recent storms and deadly tornadoes that ravaged Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi have created a demand for shelters Bryant and his staff are finding hard to meet.
“Between Friday and today, I’ve had over four thousand phone calls,” Bryant said.
Bryant said his business ramps up when storms get worse, and right now he’s having to turn away customers who are eager for shelters as severe weather threatens.
“We want to take care of as many people as we possibly can, but we will not sacrifice integrity of the product to build them faster or install them faster. We’re going to do it the right way the first time,” he said.
Bryant said the demand for shelters is so high that he’s looking at the very end of September or the first week of October before his crews can finish production and make installations.