New tornado-safe dome houses under construction in Tuscaloosa

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuesday marks the 10-year anniversary of the deadly Alabama tornado outbreak killing 254 Alabamians, 53 of those in Tuscaloosa. 

Tuscaloosa building company New Age Dome Construction is building five tornado-safe homes in the Alberta community hoping to help save lives if another tornado hits the area again.

“They are storm safe they’ve been proven by the highest building court in the land for 250 miles per hour winds. So the projectile rating is just 40 pounds short of a tornado shelter for the entire building so. Like I tell people if you have a safe room that’s great you’ve got your life.  But if you have a dome you have your life and your stuff,” New Age Dome Construction owner John Johnson said.

Johnson says his dome houses can withstand EF-5 tornados with wind speeds of 250 mph. He tells CBS 42 the road shapes force the wind to go around the buildings and protect the homeowners inside.

“An EF-5 tornado will impact a doom at the rate of 100 pounds per square foot.  It would impact a square structure at 400 pounds per square foot. So you’ve got the entire structure bracing against itself no matter what happens,” Johnson said.

New Age Dome Construction has built thousands of tornado-safe houses around the country and dozens in Tuscaloosa County. The homes cost roughly $240,000.

“There’re only three good things I can say about a dome, they are cheaper to build. They are cheaper to heat and cool and they are ten times stronger than a box in the wind other than that I’ve got nothing good to say about them,” Johnson said.

The new houses in Alberta will be rented out for college football gameday weekends. They should be ready next fall.  

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