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Oklahoma town first to approve codes to make homes withstand a tornado

MOORE, Okla. – Moore is now the first city in the country to approve new residential building codes that focus on creating structures that can withstand a tornado.

Organizers say they are taking proactive new steps to protect homeowners from Oklahoma’s terrible twisters.

Many families are still fighting for normalcy as they rebuild their homes after last spring’s storms.

Sarah Patteson said, “It was pretty tedious and I definitely don’t want to do it again.”

Patteson’s family rebuilt their new home in the same spot where their house was destroyed last May.

As the storm rolled through, they hid under a mattress in a hallway and survived.

She said, “Just pray for God to protect us and he did right? Yes, he did.”

Now, new residential building codes in Moore could force structures to become stronger, in order to make them more likely to survive a twister.

The goal is to help new homes, like this one, withstand winds up to 135 miles per hour.

The current standard is 90 miles per hour.

Dr. Chris Ramseyer, associate professor of civil engineering at OU, said, “This last tornado is over $2 billion in costs and with better homes, stronger buildings, that destructive force will be minimized and the cost will be minimized.”

The National Science Foundation team, composed of five universities across the U.S., including OU and OSU, looked at every home affected by the Moore tornado.

Officials used the research and engineering technology to create the new codes.

The new requirements for homeowners include roof sheathing, hurricane clips and wind resistant garage doors.

Ramseyer said, “It’s a very small expense for the homeowner. We’re talking one or two cents per dollar on a home.”

Patteson said, “It may be the push that some people needed to decide to rebuild back here.”

The new residential building codes go into effect April 17.

However, these codes don’t apply to residents already finished rebuilding or who are in the process now.

MORE: Building a tornado-resistant home