After 3 close calls with tornadoes, local man buys storm shelter

Posted at 7:03 PM, May 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-22 09:21:52-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR)--A tornado on August 6, 1993 ravaged the Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Prince George areas.

It was the most severe in Virginia's  recorded history, listed as an F 4 in intensity, and there were multiple fatalities.

After three close calls with tornadoes in the past, local Maynard Watson was pleasantly surprised a few years ago, to find a solution.

It came in the form of an under ground shelter; found at an affordable price and he bought it on the spot.

It took less than a day to get the fiberglass shelter in place, and ever since, he's used it several times a year, when severe weather threatened.

The simple hatch is rated to with stand winds up to 300 miles per hour and Watson says the underground shelter gives him peace of mind.

But what happens if you don't have a shelter and are at home, work or out shopping?

At home, it is best to find an interior room, usually a bathroom, with no windows. Carry a blanket and pillow and if time, a mattress to cover yourself and your family.

If you are at work or in a business shopping, get away from windows, and try to get towards the middle of the middle, any place that has added walls for support.

A simple and added safety precaution for parents, is to  grab your children's bicycle helmets and have them wear them, while sheltering in place.