The typical Midwestern family home depends on simpler architectural standbys. Since the 1980s, building codes in the American Midwest require that a house be able to withstand wind gusts up to 90 miles an hour.
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When the winds blow that hard, there's little you can do to save your house. But when it comes to protecting yourself and your family, the safest bet is to buy a storm shelter, according to engineering professor Larry Tanner of Texas Tech University's Wind Science and Engineering Research Center.
These structures are usually installed inside or nearby a home and made of reinforced concrete, or even of plywood and steel.
Some scientists are looking into structures built of carbon fiber, or underground "subscrapers," that could easily survive extreme weather disasters. But these constructs are still in the experimental stage and are used mostly at military bases and other high-security facilities.
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