Thursday, December 19, 2012
We saw it with Y2K and once again, some people are panicking - this time fearing that world is going to end.
The Mayan calendar runs out on the 21st, causing some to believe that the Mayans knew something we don't .
A couple of different tornado shelter businesses here in Wichita and the Army, Navy Surplus store have all seen a boost in business in the past couple months.
Now, whether that's directly correlated to the 'end of the world' is hard to say, but the high numbers are unusual.
We've seen stories of people taking doomsday preparations to the extreme.
Condos in this Kansas silo turned underground shelter are selling for around two million dollars apiece. Preppers who don't have a couple million lying around are finding less expensive ways to try to protect themselves from the worst.
"Right now is kind of an off season so our influx of calls was kind of prepondering," said owner of Storm Defense Shelters Eric Stolfi.
Both Storm Defense Shelters and Protection Shelters here in Wichita have seen an increase in interest in the past couple months.
"I find the numbers of calls that we're seeing, I find that a little unusual for this time of year," said President of Protection Shelters Dale Zogleman.
"We've had a lot of hits on the website from it, people leaving messages about will they be good for doomsday," Stolfi said.
Built with tornado's in mind, the shelters are designed to withstand high winds, but preppers have other plans for them.
"We know that there are some people that retrofit our shelters with extra doors and air handling devices and generators on the outside," Zogleman said.
It's not just tornado shelter businesses that are seeing an increase, Alpha 1 Drop Zone here in Wichita is also experiencing a boost in business.
Owner Brad Yates says that the amount of preppers they've had come through the store can be compared to the Y2K panic.
"Just kind of by the items that they purchase, we assume that they're prepping for maybe a natural disaster," Yates said.
They even have a page on their website targeting preppers. The store has items like first aid kits, blankets, and non-perishable meals, perfect for those trying to avoid the end.
"I'd say in the last month or so, ya, we've seen an increase in those type of supplies going out of here," Yates said.
The tornado shelter companies warn that the increase in business could also be correlated to the strange weather patterns the country has been experiencing lately.
A number of states have had tornados already this December, so people could just be nervous of the possibility.
But still, they say that for an off-season, these numbers are unusual.