The National Weather Service says we could see the potential for Severe storms late Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Cherokee County has been placed into a Slight Risk area for strong to severe storms with the greatest threat being the potential for Tornadoes, Damaging Winds and quarter-sized hail, with timeline for most of the WEIS listening area being from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
With a threat of severe weather on the table, we wanted to go ahead and share with you a statement regarding the issue coordinated by the National Weather Service and Alabama Department of Public Health.
On a conference call with state leadership last Monday, it was specifically asked of the ADPH what their recommendation was regarding the decision to go to a community shelter to protect yourself from a possible tornado vs the concern for potentially exposing yourself to the COVID-19 virus.
According to Tim Hatch with the Department of Public Health, their recommendation was that you protect yourself from the greatest threat first, which at the time of a tornado warning, would be the tornado.
Below is the statement that was vetted among the 4 Alabama National Weather Service offices.
ADPH was contacted but did not respond, so we are proceeding with the information provided and going with it. Here is the statement: The decision to seek shelter in a community storm shelter is certainly made more difficult by the consideration for
COVID-19, and each individual will need to make an educated decision on where and when to shelter from a tornado.
At this time, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is recommending that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado. If a warning is issued for your area, you are more likely to be affected by the tornado than the virus.
However, the decisions to open any community shelters are done at the local or county level. Before you make a decision to go to a community shelter, you should check with your community shelter managers to ensure they are open, and if there are any local COVID-19 considerations. Certainly, wherever you choose to shelter from a tornado, you should use as many precautions as possible to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 as best as you can. If you rely on public community shelters, now may be the time to explore other options that might keep you safer from severe weather and possibly limit your exposure to COVID-19.
The best way to prepare for this potential scenario is to keep up with the latest weather forecast as well as the latest recommendations regarding COVID-19 from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the ADPH, and local authorities.