“It’s been nonstop going on two weeks now,” he said.
Howerton said sales of underground shelters have tripled over the past two weeks, but precise numbers were not immediately available.
Companies specializing in safe rooms also are reporting a surge of demand for their products.
The Del City-based company Oz Safe Rooms had two months’ worth of orders before the tornadoes, but the backlog is now closer to two years, Vice President and owner Andrew Zagorski said.
He said employees are working seven hours a week to fill orders, and the company is hiring more people in hopes of reducing the backlog.
Zagorski predicted that the demand for safe rooms would continue throughout the summer.
“I don’t see that slowing down,” he said.
Cost: Residential storm shelters can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $8,000 or more, depending on the size and type of facility. Several banks and credit unions are offering special no-interest or low-interest loans to help homeowners cover the costs of installing an underground shelter or safe room. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also provides funding for states to offer rebates.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management runs the SoonerSafe Rebate Program, which reimburses randomly chosen applicants who buy and install safe rooms above or below ground. The program offers eligible homeowners up to $2,000 per home, but the rebate cannot exceed 75 percent of the actual cost of the safe room.
The program is limited to owners of single-family homes. Apartment complexes, duplexes and other multi-family homes are considered businesses and do not qualify for rebates under the program.
The program has already chosen rebate recipients for 2013, but homeowners can apply for reimbursement year-round at soonersafe.ok.gov.