Are you preparing your basement for an F5 tornado? We suggest you think again. 

You cannot survive an F5 tornado in a basement. F5 tornadoes have the power to disrupt well-built constructions and uproot properties. A basement is highly unlikely to get through a storm this harsh. 

For more details, please continue reading. 

Tornado Categories

When tornado watch alerts are spread out, it is often indicated which category the tornado belongs to. You need to understand all the categories. We will detail each category to help set apart an F5 tornado from the rest. 

This will provide some insight into why some storms can be powered through in a basement and others cannot. 

  • F0 – F0 is the weakest tornado category on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and has estimated wind speeds of 65-85 mph. These tornadoes cause very light and negligible damage to the area that they hit. 
  • F1 – F1 is the lowest category on the Fujita scale, which measures the intensity of a tornado. F1 tornadoes have winds of 73–112 mph (117–180 km/h). The damage caused by these is moderate. 
  • F2 – An F2 tornado is rated moderate, with estimated wind speeds of 113–157 mph (182–253 km/h). F2 tornadoes cause considerable damage to properties and trees. 
  • F3 – An F3 tornado is rated as a harsh tornado, with estimated wind speeds of 158–206 mph (254–332 km/h). F3 tornadoes cause severe damage to properties and the area where they hit.
  • F4 – An F4 tornado is rated as a severe tornado, with estimated wind speeds of 207-260 mph (333-418 km/h). F4 tornadoes cause devastating damage to properties and trees. 
  • F5 – An F5 tornado is rated as devastating, with estimated wind speeds of 261-318 mph (419-512 km/h). F5 tornadoes cause incredible damage to properties and trees. 

Watch this Youtube video to understand better how you can successfully prepare your house for a tornado: 

How To Prepare Your Home During Tornado Season #tornadosafety #disasterpreparedness #nowmorethanever

The Extent Of Damage By A F5 Tornado

The damage caused by an F5 tornado is catastrophic. Wind speeds in an F5 tornado can reach up to 318 mph, destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and flipping vehicles. The destruction caused by an F5 tornado is so severe that it can leave an area uninhabitable for months or even years. 

Winds of this magnitude can break through the roofs of buildings and rip apart walls, foundations, and anything else in the area. Debris from the tornado can be carried for miles, causing even more destruction. 

Can You Survive An F5 Tornado In A Basement?

The answer that you are seeking to this question is no. You cannot survive an F5 tornado in a basement. F5 tornadoes are the strongest recorded tornadoes in the world. They have the strength to uproot houses, trees, billboards, and even bigger infrastructure. 

The scale of damage is massive. While basements provide adequate areas to seek shelter in, they can still not fight against F5 tornadoes. Your best bet is to stay in a basement, away from windows and doors, and hope you survive the storm. The most effective response to an F5 tornado is evacuation. 

What To Do In An F5 Tornado?

The first and most immediate response to an F5 tornado should be evacuation. As soon as a tornado watch is launched explaining the gravity of the situation, it would be best if you left the area immediately. 

However, if you are still stuck in an F5 tornado, you would need a lot of luck and power to get through it. Below are some suggestions you may want to consider. 

  • Seek shelter immediately. Go to an interior room or basement on the lowest floor of a building, away from windows.
  • If you are outdoors, find a low-lying area away from trees, poles, and buildings. Lie flat on the ground face down, covering your head with your hands.
  • Remain in your shelter until the storm has passed.
  • Listen to local radio or television news for updates and instructions from local authorities.

Which Category Of Tornadoes Can Be Survived In A Basement?

Basements are an excellent place to seek shelter in times of natural calamity, especially tornadoes. You may wonder what good basements are if they cannot withstand an F5 tornado. Let us explain when basements come in handy. 

As we discussed earlier, an F5 tornado is severe enough to uproot houses. However, all tornadoes ranging from F0 to F4 do not do that. An F4 tornado can also be considered dangerous and fatal at times; however, if you seek shelter in a basement, you will be perfectly safe. 

Why Are Basements Perfect For Protection From Tornadoes?

To build upon what we just discussed, let us see why basements provide the perfect shelter areas in a house. Below we have listed some of these reasons. 

  • Basements are typically located below ground level and provide a layer of protection from debris that can be thrown during a tornado.
  • Basements have walls made of solid materials such as concrete, which can help protect the occupants from high winds, flying debris, and falling objects.
  • Basements are less likely to suffer structural damage from a tornado compared to the upper floors of a building. This is because they are outside the range of wind and debris. 
  • Basements are less vulnerable to roof collapse due to high winds since the roof is typically further away from the basement. However, if the tornado is too strong, the house may collapse into the basement. This is unlikely, though. 
  • Basements typically provide more space and shelter to occupants than other locations within a building, which can be beneficial in the event of a tornado. Your entire family can seek shelter in one place and stay close. 

Final Thoughts

Please do not try to test the strength of your house or basement by crashing in a basement during an f5 tornado. Evacuate the area and return once the tornado is surely over. You may need to wait for the water to dry up as well.