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A concrete safe room built with a slope

Above Ground Versus In-Ground Shelters

If you live in Oklahoma, you know the storm situation and how severe it can be. Storms destroy millions of houses annually, and preparing beforehand is the only thing to do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Storm shelters save people’s life and valuables during natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

This blog will discuss the difference between above-ground and in-ground storm shelters and their pros and cons.

A house tipped sideways due to a natural disaster

Above-Ground Shelters

Above ground, shelters are a common choice for people who are missing a basement or a lower level in their house. This option is just as safe as an underground shelter because it is sturdy. Most above-ground shelters are built to withstand EF5 tornadoes and strong winds regardless of their placement above or below the ground.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of above-ground storm shelters:


  • Convenient to place
  • Provide easy access for the elderly, small children, handicapped, and even pets
  • Less likely to fill up with water during rains or flash floods
  • Easier to locate in case rescue is required after a disaster
  • It can be placed within the house (in the garage or the backyard), so you don’t waste any time during a storm getting to safety


  • Takes up a considerable amount of space on the property

A storm shelter with a large door


Underground Shelters

Most people think of an underground, shaded spot when they seek protection during any type of natural disaster. Storm shelters are commonly built underground to provide maximum protection and safety. In places like Oklahoma, where tornadoes and storms are common, an underground shelter can be accessed from within the house, so you are not exposed to flying debris when getting to your shelter.


  • Even lower chances of being struck by debris or objects during the storm
  • You don’t have to give up your living space to install an underground shelter
  • Accessible through indoor passages without exposing you or your loved ones to danger


  • Water from rain or flash floods may get into the shelter
  • It might be difficult for authorities and first responders to spot the shelter underground
  • Difficult to access for children, pets, and the elderly
  • Insects and small animals might find a home in underground shelters
  • Not easy to install as water piping and soil condition need to be assessed before building an in-ground storm shelter

Choosing between an above- or in-ground shelter depends on your personal preferences, your family members, and geographical location. If your area is prone to hurricanes and tornadoes, it is best to stick with in-ground shelters, provided you don’t have any small kids or elderly folk. Above-ground shelters are better suited to areas with rain and floods.

Oklahoma Shelters offers storm shelters in the Norman area. We offer garage shelters OKC, in-ground shelters, and Underground bunkers in OKC to protect individuals from potential harm and injury caused by natural disasters.

You can contact us to learn more about our storm shelters and our goal to keep you and your family safe.

Click here to get a free shelter quote.

Storm Shelters

Underground Slope Top Shelter

Concrete Shelter

Underground Garage Shelter

Garage Shelter

Installing Steel Safe Room

Steel Safe Room

Underground Bunker

Underground Bunker


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