MONTGOMERY, Ala. — When deadly twisters chewed through the South and Midwest last year, thousands of people in the killers' paths had nowhere to hide. Now many of those families are taking an unusual extra step to be ready next time: adding tornado shelters to their homes.
Sales of small residential storm shelters known as safe rooms are surging across much of the nation, especially in cities such as Montgomery and Tuscaloosa in Alabama and in Joplin, Mo., where the storms laid waste to entire neighborhoods.
Manufacturers can barely keep up with demand. Some states are offering grants and other financial incentives to help pay for the added protection.
The interest in shelters was renewed by the staggering death toll of 2011 — 358 killed in the South and 161 dead in Joplin.
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