Could a home be tornado proof? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Could a home be tornado proof?

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The price point for a monolithic dome home is usually about 15-20 percent more expensive than traditionally built homes. The price point for a monolithic dome home is usually about 15-20 percent more expensive than traditionally built homes.
Cobb said after seeing the destruction in Joplin from the deadly tornado there, he started researching modern building techniques and found the dome structure. Cobb said after seeing the destruction in Joplin from the deadly tornado there, he started researching modern building techniques and found the dome structure.
Cobb said FEMA has certified the dome structure as nearly indestructible. Cobb said FEMA has certified the dome structure as nearly indestructible.
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Michael Cobb is a physics professor at Southeast Missouri State University and said a monolithic dome might be the answer to surviving severe tornadoes.

He said a monolithic dome is a steel reinforced thin concrete shell structure.

Cobb said FEMA has certified the dome structure as nearly indestructible. He said it can withstand winds up to 350 miles an hour, and hold off 2x4 boards traveling at 100 miles per hour. But, as long as the structures have windows and doors they’re not completely tornado proof. He said those are the weak points when it comes to a tornado.

"A sphere distributes the forces more uniformly than any other structure, and so the forces actually get transmitted down to the foundation and the footings, and so even though these are only 4 inches thick, they're made with high density concrete, and there's no internal supports or anything but it handles all the forces much better than a stick built, or square building, and you can imagine wind blowing on a flat surface has a lot more to work with that a smooth curved surface does,” said Cobb.

Cobb said after seeing the destruction in Joplin from the deadly tornado there, he started researching modern building techniques and found the dome structure.

Throughout the country people have built homes, schools and churches with this dome structure.

The price point for a monolithic dome home is usually about 15-20 percent more expensive than traditionally built homes. But Cobb said the price can be competitive in the larger buildings like gyms, schools, cafeterias, and churches because they are energy efficient.

Cobb said it’s all worth it in the time of a deadly tornado.

"Some of these poor people they're literally in septic tanks, buried in the ground with steps going down in there, and my wife said I'm not going down in there, snakes and tornadoes and everything else, so you don't have to live like that, if as a society we decided we wanted to build tornado proof tornadoes and structures, the technology is there and we know how to do it,” said Cobb.

Cobb hasn’t been able to find anyone in the area that builds these structures, but is happy to talk to someone who might want to.

You can find more information on the monolithic domes at their website here.

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