The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 3, 2014

Hundreds filled Ala shelters during storm outbreak


Gov. Robert Bentley said people sought refuge in 65 community shelters statewide, but state officials said they don't yet know how many people were housed. The director the state emergency agency, Art Faulkner, said the structures made a difference, however.

"There are areas that had zero capacity before April 27 that will now have the ability to shelter hundreds of their citizens," said Faulkner.

The latest storms were blamed for three deaths, and at least 30 were hurt. Two people died in a mobile home in Limestone County, and a University of Alabama swimmer was killed when the basement wall in a house collapsed while he was seeking shelter during a tornado warning.

In Tuscaloosa, during the storms both Monday and Tuesday, hundreds of people filled a reinforced event hall located inside a public school. A trickle of people became a flood once rain began falling and the winds picked up, workers said.

On the other side of town, Prewitt and her relatives were among dozens of people who rode out the storms in a concrete building constructed outside another school. Volunteer workers shut the thick steel door after the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning, and they didn't open it again until given an all-clear sign.

"The wind was blowing and lightning. It was scary," said Prewitt.

Sunseri said the shelters in Haleyville provided cover on Monday for around 630 people, or roughly 15 percent of the town's population of 4,122. The post-2011 building boom allowed the city to protect far more of its residents than previously.

"Before we could only shelter about 70 people in the basement of the public library," said Sunseri.

Bell Gandy of Tuscaloosa said the community shelters have provided not just physical safety by peace of mind. "We were mostly calm because we felt secure," said Gandy.

Text Only
State and Nation


Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

     View Results
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee