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Two new storm shelters open in Madison County

The storm shelters are in Ardmore and Meridianville.

Posted: Oct 11, 2019 2:08 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2019 5:07 PM

Madison County now has two new storm shelters just ahead of peak tornado season. The shelters come equipped with hand sanitizer and porta-potties. People who live in the area say these shelters are necessary.

"It's very important in this area because of all the people who do live in trailers. They need a place to go where they can feel safe," said Madison County resident, Tina Stanley.

Tina Stanley said she finds peace of mind, with two new storm shelters in Madison County. There's now one in Ardmore and another in Meridianville.

"Having a new one that's safe and we know people will be secure," said Stanley.

County commissioners cut the ribbons on both shelters Friday morning. Commissioner Roger Jones says before these opened, neighbors in both towns didn't have many options.

"There's no safe place unless a person has a storm shelter in their house. Most of these homes are older homes and they don't have the facilities to withstand a tornado," said Madison County Commissioner, Roger Jones.

Commissioner Jones said the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for most of the cost. The county threw in some, and it was worth every penny.

"We hope it won't have to be used very much but if a tornado is coming and they need a safe place, this would be one," said Jones.

The Meridianville shelter can hold nearly 200 people and the Ardmore shelter can hold 90. Both are built to resist 250 mile per hour winds, something Stanley says is necessary, if the worst should happen again.

"Especially after the 2011 storms that we had that were unpredictable. It was all night. This one will be available 24/7 whenever weather gets to that extreme," said Stanley.

These storm shelters are ready just in time for November when we typically see an increase in severe weather. Officials say these storm shelters can be used as early as Friday. The county pitched in about $40,000 total for both shelters. They're also adding one in Owens Cross Roads. We did some comparing of Madison County to others in the area. Before today's shelters were added, there were 13 shelters. Compare that to Colbert County, which has 24, Marshall County, which has 25 and Jackson County, which has 32.

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