North Texas

Active Severe Weather Season Fuels Demand for Storm Shelters

When the December 26 tornado struck Garland and Rowlett, it didn't take long for people to take stock of what's important.

"We sold our entire inventory, emptied our warehouse within ten days," explained John Wingfield, co-owner of Storm Dorms Storm Shelters.

An active severe weather season is increasing demand for storm shelters in North Texas.

"Normally, it was two to three weeks max," Wingfield said about orders. "Now it could take as long as eight weeks."

A Chapman University study last year put fear of natural disasters, like tornadoes, above the fear of crime.

"It's not even just an alert that a tornado is coming," said Casey Jones. "It's a dark sky, and the anxiety is through the roof."

Jones says her fear of severe weather started when she started having children.

"As a child, you don't really think about your own mortality, so it doesn't impact you as greatly," Jones explained. "Once I had children, the thought of not being able to protect them just makes my fears much more irrational."

Jones did something about it. She ordered a storm shelter.

"The one night that the tornado was actually the closest to me was the one night I didn't feel anxiety," Jones said.

She was talking about the December 26 tornado that hit a little too close to her home in Lukas. Her shelter was installed just one week before the tornado hit.

"I was completely at peace for literally the first time ever," Jones said.

NBC 5 watched a shelter being installed in a garage not far from the Jones' home. The men installing it also work as firefighters in Garland.

"Every time I'm putting the bolts down into the concrete, I know that's going to hold for someone, a family that's going to stay in there," said firefighter Jason Lowry. "When the tornado does roll through here, it's going to keep them safe."

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