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Dekalb County family locked out of storm shelter

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - In the face of severe weather, Kim Osbourne urged her children and their father to get to the storm shelter in Valley Head.

"He got the kids, loaded up, got to the storm shelter, and it was locked," said Osbourne.

What's worse -- she was in Albertville an hour away. So she called 911.

"They informed me that the shelter was 'not authorized' to be open that day."

From there, she said she prayed.

"The storm was basically on top of them and they were in their vehicle riding it out," she said.

She now questions the point of shelter that is unavailable with a possible tornado on her children's heels.

"Both my kids were very upset about it," said Osbourne. "They were panicking, so I was panicking at home not being able to do anything."

City governments own their shelters, and are responsible for getting them open. County officials say that the sudden change from a thunderstorm warning to a tornado watch is why the city did not have it open before the storm passed through.