By Jeff Ray
A worker drills holes into the cement pad to anchor a safe room shelter. (credit: Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

A worker drills holes into the cement pad to anchor a safe room shelter. (credit: Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

GRANBURY (CBSDFW.COM) – It was just three weeks ago when a strong tornado ripped through Granbury — the most powerful tornado to hit North Texas in 20 years. The odds of a tornado that strong hitting your home directly are extremely small. You can expect it to happen about once in every 8,000 years.

But, if a tornado did hit your home, you would need a place to go where you and your loved ones could stay safe. That is what has pushed many folks into building storm shelters, especially after the recent string of storms in both Texas and Oklahoma. And now, the goverment will even pay for half of your storm shelter.

The Metro Safe Room Rebate Program begins on Wednesday. Residents can be reimbursed for half of the cost that it takes to add a storm safe room to a home or property, with a maximum of $3,000. This is money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and administered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

There is paperwork that must be done in advance. But first, homeowners must find out if they qualify.

  • You must own a home in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Collin County or Denton County. You will need to make a copy of your deed or property tax record. There is a plan to include all 16 area counties — like Hood County, where Granbury is located — at a later date.
  • Your property must not be in the 100-year floodplain (FEMA Flood Zone A) or in a Special Flood Hazard Area. This can be verified online.
  • You must contract with a certified supplier. There are two: National Storm Shelter Association or American Tornado Association. So, in other words, you cannot build a safe room yourself.
  • You must be approved first, before any construction begins.

Click here for additional information on the program.

Update: The website for applicants was overloaded with interested homeowners beginning early on Wednesday morning, often moving very slowly or crashing. Now, at this time, the Metro Safe Room Rebate Program has been closed due to the large number of applicants. Those who still wish to apply can check the website in about two weeks for details regarding a waiting list.

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