Hale County residents ask for help to build storm shelters following several tornadoes

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT
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HALE COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - No lives were lost after three tornadoes touched down in Hale County recently, but many people are fearful that they may not be so lucky during the next storm.

The county has only one public storm shelter and we’re told it quickly filled during last week’s tornado.

Governor Kay Ivey toured tornado damage in Sawyerville Monday.

“This is family. This is close family,” State Senator Bobby Singleton told the Governor during the tour. They were together when she saw the pile of debris where Corlander Williams’ home once stood. He was in it when Thursday’s tornado destroyed it.

“The only thing I thought about was getting from under these blocks that fell on me,” he told WBRC.

Singleton was one of the people asking Governor Ivey for help to build storm shelters in Hale County. “There have been several tornadoes here. No storm shelters. We have to get storm shelters.”

WBRC asked the Governor if the state could offer help in building public storm shelters. “As Senator Singleton and I were talking, y’all need some storm shelters. And I would just plead with all of you touch base with your community based civic groups and get them to show the need with them and y’all just come together and start digging some dirt, turning some dirt and building storm shelters,” Governor Ivey responded.

The Governor said help for Alabama’s tornado recovery could come after damage assessment reports are completed and turned over to the federal government.

“We’re just getting started folks. But there is help on the way if we can do our part and work together,” the Governor went on to say.

Hale County’s EMA director Russell Weeden said they hope to have their damage assessments completed by the end of Wednesday. Governor Ivey said that the state would turn all damage assessment information over to the federal government at the same time.

We don’t know how much money the state could get for tornado recovery and how much of it could be used for tornado shelters.

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