TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The City of Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama officials are keeping an eye on Ida as the system pushes into West Alabama. All city and county tornado shelters are ready in case they are needed.
Ken Horst says all eight UA campus shelters will be opened if a tornado watch is posted. Horst is the University of Alabama Assistant Director of Emergency Management.
“Anytime there is a chance or potential for a tornado or a watch or warning, it’s important that we have the ability to protect our students and our employees, and the university has really shown a commitment,” he said.
Horst says all eight campus shelters are equipped with cellular service, WiFi, and bathrooms. 12,000 UA students can seek shelter in the facilities. Wearing a mask is required.
UA freshman student Michael Micciche is glad a storm shelter is near his dorm at Presidential Village. North campus storm shelter is behind the residence hall in the basement and can withstand wind speeds of 250 miles per hour.
“I think it’s really good we have a tornado shelter right there so in case we get bad weather we can go inside there, and we are not in danger from a tornado or winds from the Hurricane might bring,” he said.
UA student Aubrey Barnhart is also glad there are safe places students can go during severe weather:
“It’s really important for us especially with the threat going on, it’s nice to know Alabama is taking care of its students and faculty and staff. Being right here especially in times like this it’s really nice to know that I am safe and have a place to go if needed.”
The Tuscaloosa fire and police departments and Tuscaloosa County EMA are all on standby in case they are needed. Fire Chief Randy Smith is urging residents to stay off the roads until the storm system passes through.