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Basements Are Rare In Tornado Alley

Tornado-AlleyInteresting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • storm belt: an area that has a high incidence of storms
  • clay: a type of earth that is soft and pliable when wet
  • shrink: to get smaller
  • tornado: strong rotating winds that form a funnel shape 
  • alert: a warning of pending danger
  • time consuming: takes a long time
  • the frost line: the depth in the ground where ground water will freeze in the winter
  • foundation: the base or bottom layer of a building or structure

Basements Are Rare In Tornado Alley

Most people know that the best place shelter during a tornado alert is in a basement. , homes, schools, and businesses in Tornado Alley are typically built without basements. Tornado Alley is a storm belt in the US Midwest between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. It is very difficult to build a basement in these plains because much of the is made of clay. Clay shrinks when it’s dry and expands when it’s wet. Despite the risk of deadly twisters in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, it is too costly and time consuming to build and maintain basements or underground cellars in these areas. Further north where people experience colder winters, almost all homes and businesses have . When soil freezes and thaws it becomes very unstable; therefore, foundations must be built the frost line.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Where is the best place to seek shelter during a tornado?
  2. Where is Tornado Alley?
  3. Why aren’t basements easy to build in Oklahoma?

Discussion Questions: Should the government pay for emergency safe rooms and community shelters in storm belts, or should home owners carry the major costs of building their own personal shelters?

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