Hale Co. urging caution during overnight storms; county leaders still waiting on FEMA shelters
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Hale County leaders are urging residents to be on high alert, saying mobile home owners need to have a safe place to sleep.
The county still only has one community storm shelter. EMA director Russell Weeden said they could take up to 18 months to be installed. They were ordered less than a year ago, when the county saw a deadly E-F 2 tornado.
Weeden estimated that nearly 35% of Hale County residents live in mobile homes and he said they are the residents most at risk.
“Tonight’s one of those nights you may want to stay with a neighbor that has a site built home,” Weeden said. “Stay weather alert all night and have a weather radio. Do not stay in your trailer tonight.”
Weeden says overnight storms can be the most dangerous because residents are sleeping and not focused on the weather. He said you need to have multiple alerts and ways to be awoken by severe storms.
He said mobile home residents need to plan a safe place to stay as early as they can.
“They wait until right at the last minute when we are under a tornado warning, before they want to leave their mobile homes, and then it’s too late sometimes,” Weeden said. “I have seen some really nice mobile homes tied down, but they just don’t stand a chance against a tornado.”
Back in February, the tornado seriously injured three and killed one. Weeden said they were all staying in the same mobile home.
“The neighbor said they didn’t take shelter because it was the wrong time of the year,” Weeden said. “There is no wrong time of year for a tornado.”
The county is still working to build six new storm shelters.
“The storm shelters that we applied for are still at FEMA in Atlanta,” Weeden said. “We are still waiting on permission to put them in, so that’s a hold up.”
Weeden said the hold up is also happening to other nearby counties.
He said the basement at Greensboro Baptist Church is also open for residents seeking shelter, along with the storm shelter in Newbern.
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