How to Prepare Your Home for a Sharknado

by Cassandra McCullersJuly 10, 2016

sharknado

What is a Sharknado?

A sharknado is a highly unusual event where a tornado forms over water, picking up sharks and carrying them inland. Most of what we know of the events comes from documentaries on sharknadoes performed by syfy.com. The sharks can be carried aloft for days or even weeks. Sharks affected by a sharknado are unusually aggressive, tough, and surprisingly mobile on dry land. Sharknadoes often involve weather patterns previously considered highly unlikely, such as storms moving against prevailing winds, a hurricane hitting the southern west coast, and hurricanes forming over cold water. Sharknadoes disproportionately strike densely populated areas.

Warning signs for an impending sharknado include high humidity, a sudden outbreak of bad acting, strange cloud formations, remarkably obvious product placements, rapidly falling temperatures, and Fin Shepard being nearby. In fact, if Fin Shepard is sighted in your area during sharknado season, immediately seek shelter as a sharknado attack is very likely imminent. Even if the sky is clear, there is still a chance of shark strikes. Sharks have been known to strike as far as ten miles from the main storm.

Although there is a popular myth that scantily clad female beach-goers are at the highest risk of being killed in a sharknado, statistical analysis has shown that 78% of victims are men. In recent years, sharknado strikes seem to disproportionately kill B-list actors. Many of those killed were not near the beach. A special commendation is given to our brave research team who had to sit through all known footage of sharknado strikes in order to compile this information. We salute your dedication.

Sharknado Watch vs. Sharknado Warning

A sharknado Watch is issued when conditions are ripe for a sharknado to form. Sharknado watches usually cover a large area. A sharknado Warning is issued when a sharknado has been indicated by radar or reported by storm spotters. If a sharknado warning has been issued, get to shelter immediately.

Risks Associated With Sharknadoes

Despite popular misconception, sharks are far from the only danger in a sharknado. Sharknadoes are also frequently accompanied by hurricanes, overused plot devices, flash floods, bad CGI, storm surge, cheesy one-liners, lightning strikes, and flying debris. Sharknadoes bring the same risks as regular tornadoes in addition to the sharks. The first sharknado in recorded history was preceded by a shark storm surge that claimed numerous lives. Several sharknados might merge into a sharkicane, and a rolling Shark Fog is also possible. Even a weak sharknado is fully capable of putting a ferris wheel through an office building.

Be alert that the standard laws of physics may not apply in the case of a sharknado. This includes distortion of time and space, imploding houses, exploding swimming pools, laser chainsaws, and surviving atmospheric reentry shielded only by a dead shark. Although in usual circumstances sharks cannot breathe unless submerged in water, sharks affected by a sharknado are capable of surviving extended periods aloft and even the vacuum of outer space. A few sharknadoes have been known to carry species not native to the region. At least one sharknado has picked sharks up out of a river not known to carry sharks, indicating that sharks might swim inland in advance of an approaching sharknado.

Well Before Sharknado Season

Sharknado season peaks in July in the Northern Hemisphere. Well in advance of that time, make certain that your insurance is up-to-date and comprehensive. Your insurance policy will need to be updated if you have changed, added, or removed anything structurally about your home. Make or update an inventory of all contents of your home and store it either online or otherwise outside your home. Ensure that your contents coverage is adequate to pay to replace any and all belongings. Surprisingly, some basic insurance packages do not cover structural damage due to sharks. Also, standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood insurance. Flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period. Check to see if you are at risk of storm surge, although be aware that flooding can occur even in areas not at risk of storm surge.

Properly installed and up-to-code storm shutters are the best protection for your windows. It is best to install these well ahead of sharknado season, as installation companies will be busy once sharknado season arrives.

Make certain that your home is up to local building codes. You can often retrofit your home to be more resistant to high winds, rains, random implosions, and flying sharks.

  • Look into buying and installing an impact resistant garage door, preferably rated at GW1 (Great White) proof standards or higher. Weaker doors run the risk of letting water and sharks enter. Garage doors are frequently the first structural element of a house to fail.
  • Secure shingles on your roof using roofing cement. Loose shingles can be blown away, creating an opening for smaller sharks to enter.

During a sharknado, trees can fall on houses, creating openings through which sharks can enter. Prune or thin the canopy of trees that are close to your house, so that wind can pass more easily through the branches without knocking them over. Remove branches facing your house to reduce weight on that side, since the tree is more likely to fall in the direction with more weight.

Once Sharknado Season Arrives

Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts. Clear them of debris. Clear storm drains of debris.

Prepare to board up your windows. All exterior windows and doors need to be secured no matter which side of the house they are on, as sharks can attack from any direction. Boarding up your windows by attaching plywood, steel, or aluminum to the exterior wall may provide minimal protection in heavy winds, as the board can be torn away by winds getting under it. All sharks larger than a Horn Shark are capable of breaking improperly installed, interior grade, or thin plywood. Duct tape and masking tape will also not prevent sharks from breaking windows.

Plywood and other methods of boarding should be installed within the window recess after having been cut to fit the window. For plywood, use ⅝ in or ¾ in exterior grade plywood. Use 3- or 4-in heavy-duty barrel bolts to secure the boards into the inset, placed every 18 to 24 inches apart. Be aware that even properly installed plywood will only protect you from sharks the size of a Sand Tiger Shark and smaller. If your area is prone to sharknadoes carrying great whites or other large species, you will want to consider up-to-code storm shutters.

Prepare a family bug-out bag in case you need to evacuate in a hurry. It should contain copies of important documents in a fire – and waterproof container, flashlights, a change of clothes, shark repellent, a first-aid kit, medications, water and non-perishable food, a spare chainsaw – preferably one with two blades, cash in a water-resistant or waterproof container, a portable USB charger for phones, and any portable irreplaceable items such as photos. Digital copies of all paperwork and photos can also be kept on a flash drive.

Know your evacuation route. When evacuating from a sharknado you will need to move inland and to higher ground. During the worst sharknadoes it might be necessary to evacuate as much as 100 miles inland. After evacuating, do not return home until after you are given the all-clear.

Defensive Measures

Please seek shelter and leave the thrilling heroics to the professionals.

When a Sharknado Watch has been Issued

pool-sharkCover your swimming pool and any other large bodies of water on your property. Sharks have been known to land in swimming pools. There is also a documented risk of uncovered swimming pools exploding during a sharknado.

Bring all pets inside. Animals run a severe risk of injury if left outside, and even if they escape injury, they are extremely likely to panic and run away. Separate cats, dogs, and small animals. Even if pets usually get along, sharknadoes are extremely stressful and fights might break out.

Close and board up your windows. Having open windows will allow water and sharks to enter the home and will increase the chance that your house will implode. No house is built airtight, so differences in air pressure between the inside and outside will quickly equalize.

During the Sharknado

If you are weathering the storm inside your house, take shelter in an interior room well away from exterior doors, chimneys large enough to accommodate a shark, and windows. Even properly protected windows can break and allow sharks to enter. Standing next to a window and citing the impossibility of flying sharks is essentially guaranteed to cause an immediate sharknado strike on your home.

If trapped while evacuating or traveling, do not leave your car.

Due to the risk of flooding, do not take shelter in low-lying areas such as tunnels or ditches, as they will often contain electric eels.

Continue listening to updates about the sharknado from a trusted source, such as the National Weather Service and local news channels. Do not leave your shelter if not given the all-clear unless remaining in your shelter becomes unsafe.

Be aware that even after the sharknado passes there is a risk of continued flooding, ordinary tornadoes, cliched portrayals of hope returning, and further sharknadoes. Sharks, and variously sized pieces of sharks, typically fall from the sky for a short time following the end of a sharknado.

If winds die down or if the sky clears, the sharknado might not be over, especially if it has transformed into a sharkicane. The eye of the sharkicane is an area of calm winds, sometimes rather far across, at the center of the storm. It is surrounded by the heaviest winds in the storm. Check a reputable source to see the current location of the sharknado or sharkicane.

After the Sharknado

Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, thick gloves, and sturdy shoes when inspecting your home and property for damage. Take pictures of any damage to the building or contents for insurance claims. If your home appears to have suffered structural damage, leave and seek shelter elsewhere. If there is a significant amount of standing water in your home, be aware that it likely contains sharks.

There is a potential for gas leaks from shark-damaged lines. Do not light candles or other sources of open flame until power is restored and all lines have been checked. Use battery powered flashlights for emergency light and to inspect for damage. Do not approach downed power lines. Avoid standing water as it will often contain confused but very angry sharks.

If you smell gas or the odor of rotting eggs or hear a blowing or hissing noise, a gas line may have burst. Open a window, get everyone out of the house, and call the gas company or fire department.

If you need to rebuild, speak to a professional about rebuilding your home to be more sharknado-resistant. This can include reinforcing masonry walls; adding anchors, clips, and straps to connections in wood frame buildings; reinforcing your chimney; installing a roof-mounted machine gun; installing a reinforced garage door; and other improvements. Some Homeowners Associations may not allow for the installation of heavy artillery systems, so check with them before committing to those renovations.

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About The Author
Cassandra McCullers
Cassandra is a writer with a background in engineering, enjoying the rural life in the Virginian Appalachians. When not working, she enjoys writing fiction, running a blog, camping, working in the garden, and tending to her flock of chickens! In addition to writing, she has a passion for art and graphic design. Her interests include disaster preparedness, homesteading, landscaping, cooking with natural ingredients, history, and animal husbandry.
1 Comments
  • Sharksurfer
    August 7, 2016 at 5:58 am

    Ah thanks for this. I’m really scared to go to my bathroom because we were just hit with a sharknado and my bathroom has a big bathtub. What should I do? Is there a possibility that a shark got into my bathtub?

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