Alabama Tornado and Storm Shelters

Alabama is located in an area known as Dixie Alley, which is a region in the southeastern United States that is prone to tornadoes. While tornadoes can occur in any state, Dixie Alley is a region where tornadoes tend to be more frequent and intense than in other parts of the southeastern U.S.

  • The deadliest tornado outbreak in Alabama history occurred on April 27, 2011, when 62 tornadoes touched down in the state, resulting in 252 fatalities and more than 2,200 injuries.
  • The largest tornado ever recorded in Alabama was the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado on April 27, 2011, which had a width of 2.25 miles and caused widespread damage across the region.
  • One of the deadliest tornadoes in Alabama history occurred on March 21, 1932, when a tornado struck the town of Hackleburg, killing 87 people.
  • The second deadliest tornado in Alabama history occurred on April 4, 1977, when a tornado struck the city of Birmingham, killing 22 people and causing extensive damage.
  • Alabama experiences tornadoes primarily in the spring and fall months. The season typically runs from March to May, with the most active month being April.
  • Despite the frequent tornado activity in Alabama, the state has made significant advances in tornado forecasting and warning systems over the years, resulting in a decrease in tornado-related fatalities and injuries.
Documented Alabama tornadoes since 1950
Alabama tornadoes since 1950.

Preparing for Tornadoes in Alabama

Alabama is one of the most tornado-prone states in the United States, with an average of around 50 tornadoes per year. This means that it is incredibly important for residents of Alabama to be prepared for the possibility of a tornado. Preparation can help minimize the risk of injury or death, as well as minimize property damage. 

One of the most important aspects of tornado preparation in Alabama is having a plan in place. This includes identifying safe areas in the home or workplace where individuals can take shelter during a tornado. Having a residential tornado shelter in your home or yard is the best option, but if that's not possible for you, plan ahead by knowing where the closest shelter is.

In addition to individual preparation, it is important for communities in Alabama to have a comprehensive plan in place for responding to tornadoes. This includes having emergency responders trained and ready to act, as well as having plans in place for evacuations and giving the community access to public community shelters for government, or even businesses. 

It is also important to have emergency supplies on hand, such as water, non-perishable food, medication and a first aid kit.

Another important aspect of tornado preparation is staying informed about weather conditions. This means monitoring local weather forecasts and staying alert to any tornado watches or warnings that may be issued. It is also important to have a reliable method of receiving tornado alerts, such as a weather radio or smartphone app. 

Tornadoes can strike without warning, and being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. By having a plan in place, staying informed about weather conditions, and working together as a community, we can help minimize the impact of tornadoes in Alabama and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

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Tornado Shelters Near Me in Alabama

There are several ways to find public tornado shelters in Alabama:

Alabama Emergency Management Agency - The Alabama Emergency Management Agency maintains a list of public tornado shelters across the state. You can access the list on their website or by contacting their office. You can find contact information for your county's EMA by searching online or contacting your local government office.

Red Cross - The American Red Cross operates tornado shelters in many communities across Alabama. You can find information on Red Cross tornado shelters on their website or by contacting your local Red Cross chapter.

Community Centers - Some community centers, such as schools or churches, may also serve as public tornado shelters. Contact your local community center to inquire about their availability during severe weather.

It is important to note that public tornado shelters may not always be open or available during a tornado event, as they may be at capacity or unavailable due to other factors. It is always best to have a plan in place for taking shelter in a safe location, such as a basement or interior room of a sturdy building, and to stay informed about weather conditions and tornado warnings.

To locate tornado shelters across the state of Alabama, we recommend utilizing the resources provided by local and state emergency management agencies. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) maintains a comprehensive directory of county emergency management agencies, which can be found on their County EMA Directory page. For Baldwin County residents specifically, detailed shelter information is available on the Baldwin County EMA website.

Please note that while we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we cannot guarantee the completeness or correctness of the details presented. Shelter availability and policies may change, so we advise checking with your local emergency management office directly for the most current and accurate shelter information. You can find contact details for each county's emergency management office in the County EMA Directory.

More helpful resources:

Stay safe and remember to monitor local news and weather updates for real-time information.

Alabama Tornado Safety Tips

Alabama is known for its frequent tornadoes, and it's important to know how to stay safe during these severe weather events. Here are some tornado safety tips for Alabama:

Have a plan in place - Develop a plan for where to take shelter in the event of a tornado, and make sure all members of your household are aware of the plan. Identify safe areas in your home or workplace, such as a basement or interior room on the lowest level.

Stay informed - Monitor local weather forecasts and stay alert to any tornado watches or warnings that may be issued. Have a reliable method of receiving alerts, such as a weather radio or smartphone app.

Take shelter immediately - If a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in the designated safe area immediately. Do not wait until you can see or hear the tornado.

Protect your head - If you do not have access to a safe area, protect your head and neck with your arms and take shelter in a low-lying area away from windows and doors.

Avoid mobile homes - Mobile homes are not safe during a tornado and should be evacuated immediately. If you live in a mobile home, make plans to take shelter in a nearby sturdy building or storm shelter.

Wear protective gear - If you have access to a helmet or other protective gear, wear it during a tornado to protect your head from debris.

Stay away from windows - During a tornado, stay away from windows and cover yourself with a blanket or other protective covering to shield yourself from shattered glass.

After the tornado - After the tornado has passed, check for injuries and damage, and avoid downed power lines and other hazards.

Practice tornado drills - Practice tornado drills with your family or coworkers to ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a tornado.

By following these tornado safety tips, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones during severe weather events in Alabama. It is important to always take tornado warnings seriously and to be prepared in advance for the possibility of a tornado.

Alabama tornado safety tips

Alabama Tornado Shelter FAQs

Q: Where are Public tornado shelters or Community tornado shelters in Alabama?
A: Public or community tornado shelters in Alabama are typically located in government buildings, such as schools, libraries, and community centers. They could also be in churches or other community buildings. You can contact your local emergency management agency to find out where the nearest public tornado shelter is located.

Q: Where can I find FEMA-compliant tornado shelters in Alabama?
A: FEMA maintains a list of compliant tornado shelter manufacturers and models on their website. You can search for compliant tornado shelters in Alabama using the FEMA website.

Q: What are the Tornado shelter regulations in Alabama?
A: Tornado shelter regulations in Alabama vary by county and municipality. In general, tornado shelters must meet certain construction standards and be able to withstand winds of at least 250 mph. You can check with your local building code department to find out more about tornado shelter regulations in your area.

Q: Is tornado shelter construction regulated in Alabama?
A: Tornado shelter construction in Alabama must adhere to certain building codes and regulations. In general, tornado shelters should be constructed of reinforced concrete or steel and should be able to withstand winds of at least 250 mph. It's important to work with a licensed contractor who has experience building tornado shelters.

Q: Are Tornado shelter grants available in Alabama?
A: Tornado shelter grants may be available in Alabama for certain individuals or groups, such as low-income families, schools, and community organizations. You can contact your local emergency management agency or the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to find out more about tornado shelter grants and eligibility requirements.

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