EMA officials advise you to stay weather aware since storms can change in an instant

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- The Valley saw multiple instances of quick, spin-up tornadoes in the last few weeks. In some instances, emergency management officials don't have warning and can't open the tornado shelters in time. That is why it's so important that you stay aware.

In Marshall County, the Emergency Management Agency works closely with the National Weather Service to see what the threat and risk factors are going to be when storm conditions build up. "Then make sure that we make those preps ahead of time to get storm shelters open or tornado shelters open and notify the public," explained Director Anita McBurnett.

During a severe thunderstorm watch, the Marshall County EMA will make the shelters ready, but the severity of storms can go from minor to severe in an instant with little to no warning. That can bring straight-line winds and quick spin-up tornadoes, which are hard to detect on radar. At times, tornadoes can spin up before the radar can even show it.

That's why EMA officials say it's so important that you be aware and proactive. One way to do that is to get multiple alerts and stay weather aware. "We need to enact our personal safety plans," McBurnett said. "That's why it's so important that every family know where you're at, know where your safe locations are and what are your plans to get there, because you may have little to no warning."

Remember, November is the Valley's second severe weather season. "This time of year people get busy, they have a lot of other things on their mind, so right now we need to stop everybody going in different directions, and just stay weather aware."

EMA officials say it's important to know that some storms can change in an instant, giving them little to no time to prepare you, so you need to be ready to act. It's important that you have an emergency kit ready to go with flashlights, batteries, blankets, and other necessities. It's also important that you have more than one way to get alerts about the weather.