Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Storm Cellar, By Request

Someone searching the internet after the rash of recent tornados came across my post on "Tornado Warnings" and emailed me asking for plans for our storm cellar.  Unfortunately, I don't have any plans, but I offered to post more detailed photos.  Here they are:

The entrance to the storm cellar.  The two vertical posts were added during our recent remodeling, not for the storm cellar, but to provide support for the attic floor for a future expansion.

 The corner of the storm cellar viewed from across the basement.  The treadmill is part of the exercise area; the empty boxes are left over after stocking wine in the storm cellar, which also serves as our wine cellar.  We've had several people say they wouldn't mind getting stuck down there!  To the left of the treadmill is one of the two vents for the storm cellar.
The ceiling inside the storm cellar, complete with a grill-protected light.  Not that we'd probably have any power if there was a direct hit from a tornado, but at least until then we could at least see each other and maybe catch up on some reading.
 Here is a fuller view showing the steel beam that supports the ceiling.  This is not tin roofing; it is very solid corrugated steel.
There is another steel beam incorporated into the top of the side wall (the right-hand wall when you're looking into the doorway).
 Another view of the back corner, showing how the ceiling is supported on steel beams along the back wall and right side wall.
Looking into the wall through the vent to get a look at the ceiling as it rests on top of the wall.

I hope these pictures are helpful.  Obviously, having a good basement made this possible, but it is reassuring when those winds are howling outside to know that there's more than just a cellar to retreat to!

My next step is to stock it permanently with more than just the jugs of water I have down there now.  That will be another post--one we hope that ends up being completely superfluous!


  1. Thank you, I appreciate you so much!These photos are very helpful, especially the ceiling of the storm cellar. To be able to actually see what that's made out of, and how it goes together. Thank you so much and I hope y'all never have any tornadoes!!!

  2. Je vous souhaite de ne jamais avoir à vous en servir !

  3. Thanks, Emily! Good luck on building yours, and I wish the same for you--that it sits empty and unused!

    Merci, Kathleen! Moi aussi, mais je suis réconfortée de savoir que c'est là. Je m'en doutais d'en avoir besoin hier soir. Nous avons reçu 5.84 cm de pluie dans quelques heures avec une grande tempête. Ailleurs dans la région, ils on reçu du grêle la taille des bals de golfe! Heureusement, nous avons été épargné de ça, donc j'était contente pour la pluie. Herb passe quelques jours à Alabama pour faire des travaux sur la ferme là, et il avait une tempête aussi. Et il n'a pas d'abris là, mais tout était bien. La France a de la chance de ne pas avoir des tornades!

  4. Thank you for sharing this! You see, my husband and I are thinking of ways to improve our storm cellar and make it sturdier. The idea of using solid corrugated steel for the ceiling is a great one. We’re also thinking of strengthening the walls. What do you suggest we do? Add support beams maybe? I’ve read that plywood absorbs the impact of flying objects while a layer of steel would further block the debris.

    Edwina Sybert

    1. Edwina, I'm glad this was helpful. We just had the lake cabin at our weekend home destroyed by a tornado although thankfully it skipped the house.

      Since this storm cellar was built with the house by the former owners, all I can say is that the concrete block walls are pretty solid! I'm not sure what your storm cellar is built out of or where it is, but you might consult a contractor.

      I will tell you that our wood cabin did not fare well at all in the tornado. It was uprooted along with one of its 4x4' piers set in concrete and moved 8' to the side. The roof was lifted off and slammed back down on it, crushing much of the cabin. Many of the 2x4' and larger beams simply cracked apart. After seeing that, I'm voting for concrete blocks and steel!


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