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Living with Tornadoes in a Post-Wizard of Oz World

Those of us living in St Louis have a more nuanced view of tornadoes than those who only know them from the opening scenes of the Wizard of Oz. When St Louisans hear that one’s coming, we don’t immediately scramble to get home to Auntie Em, hop through a cellar door, then wait in the dark with canned fruit and sacks of potatoes until you can go outside without a house dropping on your head.

No, upon learning there’s a tornado on the way, we sophisticated St Louisans spend the first few minutes arguing with each other over the meanings of tornado “watch” vs tornado “warning,” and then whether the siren means it’s happening in our county or the next one over, or if it’s 11 a.m. on the first Monday of the month.

Even after that’s all been resolved, we’ll fiercely resist going to the basement until the moment the TV weatherman, using remarkably precise Accu-Twister technology, tells us the tornado just knocked over little Susie’s swingset next door. And by then, it’s too late to go the basement.

Fortunately, this state-of-denial-based reaction typical of St Louisans is almost always good enough — because you have to be VERY unlucky to have a tornado actually strike your house. Normally, reports of tornado-damaged areas become a lesson in geography, as we hear about small Missouri towns we never knew existed. Or, we learn about someone who is a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend.

But deep inside, we KNOW we should have been in the basement. We also know there’s a good chance that, although we dodged a bullet by the tornado not hitting our house, there may be some tornado-related storm damage on the outside of our house. Here’s how Fix St Louis can help.

Basement Shelter
Let’s be real. If your basement is unfinished and has cobwebs, you’ll be reluctant to go down there no matter what’s at stake. So, let Fix St Louis transform an unfinished corner of your basement into a livable area, with painted walls, a drywall or drop ceiling, a laminate floor, can lights in the ceiling, and usable electric outlets. Hey, how about a wall-mounted TV, so you know the very moment the weatherman declares “all clear” and it’s safe to go upstairs?

Hint: If your better half thinks it’s not a priority to create a comfortable tornado watching (warning?) room, you can sell the project as the beginning of a future theater room or “man cave.”

Hail Dings and Chips
While the tornado folks have us on a watch/warning scale, the hail experts have us on an even more bizarre scale that combines coins, sporting equipment, and produce. Frankly, I’m always relieved to find ANY survivors when I show-up at a neighborhood reported to have had — what did they say? — “WATERMELON-sized” hail?

The most common hail casualties on homes seem to be roofs, deck boards, window glass, window screens, and siding panels. We are not the ones to call for roofs, but if you have dinged, chipped, or broken anything else that is not on your own body, call Fix St Louis.

Wind Damage
Wind from storms seems to have a preference for blowing-off shutters and aluminum trim that’s found on the edges of roofs or around windows. Honestly, we don’t know anyone other than Fix St Louis that is interested in this kind of repair work, but we actually SPECIALIZE in small jobs like these.

Garage Space
If you like your car, you’re going to want to protect it from hail-damage. Which means you need to be able to park it in your GARAGE, despite all the stuff that’s in the way. Let Fix St Louis build you some inexpensive shelves using raw lumber, or install an attic ladder on the garage ceiling to free-up a parking spot.

We’d like you to think of Fix St Louis technicians as like those kind, hard-working farm hands who greeted Dorothy when she woke-up. Except maybe with brains, a heart, and courage. Oh, and without the creepiness of being in your bedroom when you come out of a coma. OK, so maybe not the best analogy. But you can always count on Fix St Louis to fix just about anything, no matter how small, and bring your house back as if the storm never happened. 

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis