FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) – As two rounds of severe weather could head our way this week with potential for strong winds and possible tornadoes, officials in Fultondale want to make sure you have more than one way to be informed if you need to seek shelter.
Almost a year ago, Old New Castle Rd. was one of the hardest hit spots by a tornado.
“It was completely devastation, complete,” City Councilman Billy Hughes said. “It jumped over my house then landed just over half a mile away. Didn’t have time to go downstairs in the basement, anything like that. We were caught upstairs.”
Fire Chief Justin McKenzie said it only took eight minutes for 265 homes and 66 businesses to be damaged. He said the tornado sirens got knocked out before the tornado arrived.
“Any one source can fail. You always want to have a backup plan,” McKenzie said. “If that first storm damages that tornado siren, then you can’t depend on it at all and most homes the way they’re built now, you can’t hear them inside.”
There are steps you can take right now by having tools in your warning toolbox like the CBS 42 app, weather radios and signing up for alerts through the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency.
“The whole key to any warning is time because you’ve got to have time to make a decision that may influence you and your family, so the more time you’ve got to make that decision the better,” Jefferson County EMA Director Jim Coker said.
The National Weather Service said overnight storms cause even more risk especially because you can’t see them when you look outside.
“I tell folks to make sure you have that alert right next to your bed that’s going to wake you up,” National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist John De Block said. “We need to be prepared for that risk of severe weather because if that one tornado comes into your neighborhood and affects your home, it doesn’t matter what the level of risk was, your home got hit by a tornado.”
Another thing you can do right now is check your phone settings to make sure emergency alerts are turned on so they will wake you up.
You can find more information on severe weather preparedness at Plan Ahead for Disasters | Ready.gov.