Storm shelters open across central, south Alabama; Severe storms likely Sunday

Storm shelters open across central, south Alabama; Severe storms likely Sunday
Meeksville Community storm shelter (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The WSFA 12 News First Alert Weather Team has declared Easter Sunday a First Alert Weather Day, as confidence is high that strong and severe thunderstorms will move across the state later in the day.

The First Alert Weather team is reporting that most of our region is under a “medium” risk for severe weather, but that all severe modes are possible, including widespread damaging winds, large hail, torrential rain, and large tornadoes.

WSFA 12 News has reached out to local county emergency management agencies about which storm shelters will be open. The following counties will locations where people can go:

  • Autauga County (Buildings will open when a Tornado Watch has been issued; Masks will be provided due to the COVID-19 situation):
    • Posey’s Crossroads Baptist Church, 558 Autauga County 40, Prattville, AL 36067
    • Boones Chapel Baptist Church, 2301 Co Rd 66, Prattville, AL 36067
    • The Public Safety Building in Prattville, 201 Gin Shop Hill Rd, Prattville, AL 36067
  • Bullock County - The basement of the Bullock County Courthouse (212 N Prairie St, Union Springs, AL 36089) and Richard Stone Complex (21578 Hwy 82-E, Union Springs, AL 36089) will be open as shelters. Times are not available at this time as Bullock County EMA says they are monitoring forecasts to determine when to open
  • Covington County - Per Superintendent Ted Watson, Andalusia Junior High School will open Sunday night. It will be manned by the Covington County EMA.
  • Crenshaw County:
A list of storm shelters that will be open across Crenshaw County Sunday.
A list of storm shelters that will be open across Crenshaw County Sunday. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
  • Elmore County (All buildings open when Tornado Watch is issued):
    • Elmore County Courthouse (100 E. Commerce Street, Wetumpka, AL 36092)
    • Tallassee City Hall (3 Freeman Avenue, Tallassee, AL 36078)
    • Tallassee Police Department (214 Barnett Blvd. Tallassee, AL 36078)
    • Deatsville Volunteer Fire Department (6930 Hwy 143, Deatsville, AL 36022)
    • Town of Elmore Fire Station 2 (393 Baltzer Road, Elmore AL 36024)
    • Eclectic Police Station (148 Main Street, Eclectic, AL)
    • Elmore Community Center (485 Jackson Street, Elmore, AL 36025)
    • Coosada Community Center (577 Pecan Grove Road, Coosada AL 36020)
    • Coosada Town Hall/Fire Department (5800 Coosada Road, Coosada, AL 36020), and more
  • Lee County (Locations will open only if Tornado Watch is issued):
    • Providence Baptist Church (2807 LR 166 Opelika) (Beauregard Community)
    • Greater Peace Baptist Church (650 Jeter Avenue Opelika)
    • Southern Union State Community College: Basement of Business Technology Center, Opelika
    • Smiths Station Ruritan Club: (2000 County Road 430 Smiths Station)
    • Auburn United Methodist Church (137 South Gay Street, Auburn)
    • Auburn University: Greene Hall (1130 Wire Road, Auburn)
    • Ralph Brown Draughon Library (231 Mell Street, Auburn)
  • Marengo County- (Only if a Tornado Warning is issued) - Marengo County Courthouse basement (101 E Coats Ave Linden, AL 36748)
  • Macon County- All shelters have been opened:
    • District II: Warrior Stand Community, 357 County Road 5 Union Springs Road.
    • District II: Fort Davis Community, 17793 County Road 2 Union Springs
    • District III: Shorter Community, 144 Old Federal Road Shorter, AL
    • Notasulga (Liberty City), 355 Lori Lane Notasula, AL
  • Montgomery City - The following community centers will be open once Montgomery County has a Tornado Watch (note: all citizens will be required to wear a cloth mask the entire time they are inside the facilities):
    • McIntyre Therapeutic Center - 1240 Hugh Street
    • Sheridan Heights Community Center - 3501 Faro Drive
    • MGM Therapeutic Rec Center - 604 Augusta Ave.
    • Goodwyn Community Center - 205 Perry Hill Road
  • Perry County - West Perry/East Hale Fire Department (Perry County Highway 48 Newbern, AL 36765) and Pernell Community
  • Pike County (All facilities open at 5 p.m.) -
    • Troy Recreation Center (601 Enzor Rd, Troy, AL 36079); Troy Mayor Jason Reeves says the shelter will be for those who are concerned for their safety against potential bad weather in regards to their homes. There will be very strict social distancing guidelines in place and staff and first responders on hand to implement those.
    • Troy University: Trojan Center
    • Troy University: Rushing Hall
    • Meeksville Shelter
  • Tallapoosa County (All open at 1 p.m. until the event is over):
    • Alexander City City Hall (4 Court Square, Alexander City, AL 35010) - Alex City police say those that seek shelter will enter at their own risk. Those seeking shelter will have their temperatures monitored; gloves and masks will be provided; the mask will be required to be worn for the entire event. Those attending will need to bring snacks, water and any medication they may need.
    • Dadeville Courthouse (125 North Broadnax StreetDadeville, AL 36853)
    • New Site Fire Department basement (12791 AL-22, New Site, AL 36256)
    • Daviston Community Safe Room
  • Wilcox County (Will open as needed):
    • Mt Pleasant Baptist Church, 7577 Highway 10 W, Yellow Bluff
    • Mt Moriah Baptist Church, 549 David Johns Rd, Lower Peachtree
    • Lower Peachtree Community Center, 7158 County Rd 1, Lower Peachtree
    • Moore Academy Gym, 16286 Highway 10 E, Pine Apple
    • Bethel ARP Church Annex, 6136 Highway 21, Oak Hill

The following counties will not be opening shelters: Butler County, Coffee County, Montgomery County.

Some shelters may not be open due to COVID-19 concerns. It is best to call ahead today and confirm yours will be open so you know where to head in the case of a tornado warning. The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends that a person’s first priority should be to protect themselves from a potential tornado, because if a warning is issued in your area, you are more likely to be affected by the tornado than the virus. However, you can take precautions to keep yourself safe from the virus while at a storm shelter, such as bringing hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, etc. Make sure these are packed and ready to go today so you don’t have to think about it if a warning is issued tomorrow.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey shared the following message ahead of Sunday’s potential weather:

“Unfortunately, Alabama is far too familiar with the unpredictability of severe weather. Our state stands prepared and ready to face whatever Mother Nature brings, even amidst a health pandemic. Both the National Weather Service and the State Public Health Department remind Alabamians that the use of shelters and other resources take precedent, should the need arise. The safety and protection of Alabama lives is paramount. Be sure to tune in to your trusted weather source, and stay weather aware throughout this holiday weekend.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

Remember to have multiple reliable ways of receiving weather alerts. Download the WSFA First Alert Weather App, have your NOAA weather radio ready and making sure your phone is charged before the severe weather moves in.

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