Severe storms expected in Chambers County this weekend
LANETT — Storms are expected to hit Chambers County this weekend, more specifically Sunday morning, according to Jason Holmes with the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
According to the National Weather Service, severe thunderstorms are possible early Sunday morning through the afternoon across all of central/eastern Alabama. Holmes said tornadoes and damaging winds up to 60 mph are possible.
He said storms could hit eastern Alabama at about 1 p.m. and should be heading out of the area by 7 p.m. Those projections could change as the weekend creeps closer.
“We are glad we can see this coming from further out,” Holmes said. “We want to provide people with most advanced notice and provide for the most advanced timing to give people time to prepare.”
Chambers County Emergency Management Deputy Director Kathy Hornsby said it isn’t the time to get complacent when it comes to preparing for a storm. She is suggesting everybody get a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio because if the storm hits earlier than projections, and people are still sleeping, they will not be woken up by a siren.
“Outdoor sirens have a purpose and a place, and they are for people outside,” Hornsby said. “They have never been for the purpose for alerting somebody indoors or asleep.”
On the day of bad weather, the NOAA radio will sound an alarm when a warning comes into the listener’s area, and the radio will come on with information about the storm.
“We want every house, business and school to have one of those radios,” Hornsby said. “We are not pushing away from sirens, but don’t want people to have a false sense of security thinking they are going to hear those sirens if they are indoors.”
She also advises checking local media, social media pages and download phone apps to receiving multiple forms of information about a storm.
Hornsby said she also encourages people to know where they live on a map within their town. That way, when people see what direction the storm is coming from, they can tell how close they are at a given time, she said. Many times, the weather service will not say a town could see damage, but it doesn’t usually specify what part of that city will be affected.
If the storm is too close and a person doesn’t have access to a storm shelter or basement, Hornsby said people should go to a bathroom with a mattress and pillows to place them over their heads. She said people who live in mobile homes could leave immediately during a threat of a tornado and go to a church that will let them stay or a friend or relative with a brick or steel home.
There are two tornado shelters in Chambers County — one at 1077 County Rd 139 in Abanda and the other at 2094 Patrick Street Waverly. The shelter in Abanda can be reached at (334) 576-0914 to check for or request the opening of the shelter and the Waverly shelter at (334) 887-0999.
She said if people know the storm is going to hit, it’s a good idea to head to one of the shelters if they know they are going to need it beforehand because it will be difficult to get there in the middle of the storm.
Also, if a person needs to access to a shelter, having a “go-pack” with medicine, identification and other essentials are smart to have ready so a person canjust grab it and go in an emergency, Hornsby said. She said don’t forget about pets, either.
Holmes said April is a busy month for tornadic activity and the weather service wants to prepare people as much as possible.
“April is our most favorable Tornado month,” he said. “We want people to be on guard and prepared. It only takes one to do significant damage.”