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icon Concrete Cellar

A variation on dig a trench and put a sheet of metal over it.

Build a stronger than normal but traditionally shaped concrete slab with a concrete cellar. The access opening ideally should come up in the middle of the slab. Securely water seal this opening at the ground level with metal recessed (so as to not catch the wind) and bolted to the slab. In the middle of this metal plate attach a hinged steel door or bolted plate that opens to the inside. This need not be any bigger than 21 to 24 inches square. Several accesses, well separated, to the surface can be made. Each just big enough to unbolt after the pole shift and dig your way to the surface of whatever might have blown over the top. Each needs to be sealed so as to be water tight. Blowing water can run up hill from other areas.

Bury underground (near the surface) enough building material to build a living and food growing space on top of this slab. This can be stored in buried concrete or steel culverts that either parallel to, attached to, or are totally separate from the underground cellar. Be aware of the possible force of shifting of storage items. It may be better to have an underground culvert that runs close to the cellar with no, or at most a smaller, perpendicular connecting pipe. This would allow for lots of things to be thrown around in the storage area without braking through walls to damage the occupants of the cellar. Curved is stronger than flat. Building a cylindrical circular cellar with a rounded bottom is stronger than a rectangular shape.

If you have a choice build in ground that will be difficult to liquefy during the constant shaking. If the ground liquefies then expect storage areas and cellar to float up to a point of equilibrium. The total weight of the concrete slab and cellar equals the weight of the ground displaced (density of earth times volume displaced). In this case expect connecting underground pipes to be broken off or bent. If the slab does float up from the surface, the wind may catch the edge and flip it over. If you suspect this is possible have an inwardly opening hatch in the very bottom or improve the anchoring with some concrete deep posts.

Build on slightly raised ground so as to not collect water and flying dirt. Have no vent pipes higher than about 4-6 inches from the slab. If anything is higher it may catch flying debris and hold it to the area making it harder to dig out. Any pipes lower than this may take in water. Have a battery or hand operated sump pump in case you need to pump water out. If you build a pipe or something else higher, build it to break away at about 4-6 inches from the slab surface.

Some existing houses with concrete slabs and cellars may be able to be converted. Expect the house to blow away. Have enough material stored underground to rebuild on top of the slab if you wish to stay in the area. A partially buried concrete or metal dome would be more ideal. However, the above option does not raise any suspicion for it looks like a normal house in process of being built or a normal house built but converted.

Offered by Mike.