The National Weather Service in Huntsville is forecasting storms this week, some possibly severe, and the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency is recommending residents consider their plan for shelter.
The decision to seek protection in a community storm shelter may be more difficult this spring by the restrictions in place for COVID-19.
“Each individual needs to make an educated decision on where and when to shelter from strong winds or tornado,” said Jeffrey Birdwell, Director of the Huntsville-Madison Emergency Management Agency.
At this time, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is recommending your first priority is to protect yourself from a potential tornado. If a warning is issued for your area, you are more likely to be affected by the tornado than the coronavirus.
However, the decision to open a community shelter will be made at the local or county level. Before you go to a community shelter, check with your community shelter manager to ensure they will be open and if there are considerations in place for COVID-19. Wherever you choose to shelter, use as many precautions as possible to inhibit the spread of coronavirus.
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For those who rely on public community shelters, now may be the time to explore other options that keep you safe from severe weather and limit your exposure to COVID-19.
The best way to prepare for this potential scenario is to keep up with the latest weather forecast as well as the latest recommendations regarding COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ADPH, and local authorities.
For more information, contact Jeff Birdwell, Huntsville-Madison County EMA Director, 256-427-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org.