10 Ways Technology Can Save People From Storms

Tie-down Systems for Structures
For extra protection, consider a cable sytem that ties the house frame to the foundation. iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Back in 1921, a powerful cyclone swept into the village of Mint Spring, Va. and tore a frame house belonging to the Ballew family clean off its foundation, lifted it into the air for a second, and then flung the house into the ground, about 50 feet (15 meters) from its original location. The matriarch of the family, who had been inside the house, was found in the wreckage, unconscious but still alive, and her young son was similarly found alive a short distance away in a field, according to a local newspaper [source: News Leader].

Engineers have calculated that it only takes a wind speed of 105 miles (169 kilometers) per hour -- about what an EF1 tornado achieves -- to create enough uplift or vertical suction to pull a roof off a house [source: Kennedy].

Of course, this is not something that you want to happen to you. That's why you might consider using a cable system such as Cable-Tite to attach the top of your house's frame to the foundation. You can tighten the cables to create a continuous downward pressure on your home. This is designed for use with new construction or a major renovation [source: Cable-Tite].