New Hope Faces First Severe Weather Season With Community Storm Shelters

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - We've seen some nasty weather, and we're approaching the heart of severe weather season.

That means it's important for you to get your emergency plans in order.  After all, they could change from year to year.

For example, in New Hope, they now have a community storm shelter open.

New Hope Mayor Butch Taylor carries one of the keys to New Hope's freshly installed storm shelters.

Taylor says others belong to, "All of city council, the police, most of the neighbors that live right around here that basically can walk over here immediately. There's probably 20, 25 keys out to it."

They have to keep it locked to protect against vandals, but when dangerous weather hits, the shelters will open.

Taylor elaborates, "If we have a warning, then we open it up. Severe weather, thunder storms, not necessarily, but if it's going to be high winds then we open it up."

These halls can hold right around 300, but until they bolt the doors -- they'll work to squeeze people in safely.

They worked hard to raise the funds and put the shelters in last year, because this community needs a safe place during storms. You can see the proof just over the horizon of the shelter itself - only feet away, textbook examples of some of the most vulnerable homes.

Even on days like this Monday, when skies darken just because they're grumpy not necessarily angry, people in communities like these wonder where they'll go in the wrathful times.

And this severe weather season New Hope earns its name.

"It's just something to put a lot of people's minds at ease, that they have somewhere to go," Taylor said. "Of course, you don't want to lose anyone, but if we can save one person, then it's worth what we went through to get this."

New Hope United Methodist Church has also added a public storm shelter.  It's located at 5351 Main Drive in New Hope.  It holds about 100 people.

Here's a complete list of public storm shelters in the Tennessee Valley.

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