Hale County looking to build 12 new storm shelters

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:14 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:20 PM CST
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HALE COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Hale County is nearly two weeks removed from not one but two damaging tornadoes, and a tornado is the very last thing anyone wants to think about considering the low threat of one tomorrow night. But Hale County EMA leaders say they’ve noticed a positive trend with these storm threats.

It’s more of a wait and see approach. They’re focused on digging out of the rubble from the latest tornadoes while keeping a wary eye on the system Tuesday night.

It comes down to three words for the people in Hale County; they.. are.. tired.

“Hope it don’t hit here,” said Gilbert.

Brian Gilbert is among them. Gilbert’s father-in-law’s place was hit by the tornado nearly two weeks ago. The family says the home was destroyed along with their vehicles, but in spite of all this, there were no injuries.

“Just be thankful for everything you got,” Gilbert said.

“We’ve had 6 tornadoes touch down in the last year,” said Hale County EMA Director Russ Weeden.

Weeden says there’s not a lot of prep work going into Tuesday night’s potential threat, mainly because it remains a low threat for now. The immediate focus is paving the way for 12 new storm shelters for Hale County.

Weeden says they can’t come soon enough in light of the fact the entire state set a record with 28 tornadoes during this month alone, according to the National Weather Service.

“That’s going to make us more safe in the future, but these tornadoes are a lot of work and they do a lot of damage, but it does help us be prepared,” said Weeden.

“Unreal,” Gilbert said about the January tornado record.

Back to Brian Gilbert’s family: They’re like all the rest of Hale County, hoping for a reprieve this week from the next storm system, no more records, no more dodging bullets.

“The sheer damage they do,” Gilbert said.

Russ Weeden says he doubts the 12 shelters will be in place by this time next year. The more realistic number is 6 for 2023.

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