University of Alabama students prepared for severe weather with new storm shelters

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — With the potential threat of severe weather heading to West Alabama Saturday morning, University of Alabama officials are reminding students about using campus storm shelters that are in place to keep them safe from tornados.

UA freshmen Katie Church and Maggie Guba are thankful there are six storm shelters on campus. They’ve spent a lot of time in the past four weeks sitting inside the north campus storm shelter in the basement of the Witt Activity center near their Presidential Village residence hall because of recent tornado threats.

“I really like having lots of storm shelters on campus especially having this one at the Witt. When I went into the storm shelter the first time, it was very scary because I went in they had the storm sirens going off and our emergency alerts going off. But there was staff in there who helped us go in and inside the shelters they have tv’s where they play the news, so you have an idea what’s going on,” Church said.

More than three thousand can fit inside the North Campus storm shelter. The other shelters include East Campus Storm Shelter, John H. England Jr. Hall Storm Shelter, and the North Lawn Hall Storm Shelter. Emergency Management Assistant Director Ken Horst said two other shelters are in the Magnolia Parking Deck and Capstone Parking Deck.

“It’s a safe place that’s designed to resist high wind, and it is really important to have these storm shelters because these shelters give individuals an ability to go into a safe space. And they meet certain building codes, and it has to be able to withstand 250-mile-per-hour winds,” Ken Horst said.

Guba said she appreciates the University of Alabama investing the funds to protect students.

“So it’s real important to me because it’s nice to know I have a safe place for me as well as my roommates plus I have two cats which are my support animals, and we are allowed to bring them inside the shelter and they will be in a safe place so that’s really comforting for me,” Guba said.

UA is currently building two new shelters – one in the new Tutwiler Hall and one in the new Hewson Hall.

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