Local EMA directors offer tips to prepare for severe storms

(WRBL) —  Local officials are preparing for the severe weather coming Tuesday evening, encouraging people to finalize their emergency plans at home.

The National Weather Service reports “in the southeast, tornadoes are often hidden in large swaths of rain and hail, making them very difficult to see and even more dangerous.”

The Muscogee and Russell County Emergency Management Agencies recommend people to shelter in place and make sure their safety kits can last them at least 72 hours.

What should you have in your severe weather safety kit?

If you are in a mobile home, if you can find somewhere to seek shelter, seek shelter quickly. If you are out somewhere, don’t try to leave. Shelter in place. The best place to go is the smallest, inner place of a building away from windows, away from any type of structure that wind may be able to blow glass or something on top of you.

Quincy Preer, Muscogee County EMA & Homeland Security Deputy Director

Russell County EMA Director David Martin says they have three community shelters available to residents. Martin says a proper shelter can make all the difference between life and death.

They are FEMA rated shelters. You can throw a car at them and they would not be affected at all. We opened them this afternoon and they will be open throughout the duration of the storm. Any time that the county goes under a tornado watch, it’s time to go to a storm shelter. The capacity for each is 88 people. I’m sure if we reach full capacity, you could squeeze 200 or 300 people into them in the event that there is a storm coming.

David Martin, Russell County Emergency Management Director

When severe weather strikes, WRBL is on your side with the latest forecast and other important details to help keep you safe. As we watch systems move into the area, use our list of local storm shelters to find one near you.


  • Russell County:

    • Russell County Senior Activity Center Parking Lot, 540 AL-165, Fort Mitchell, Ala. 36856

    • Russell County Sports Complex, 51 Warrior Way, Seale, Ala. 36875

    • Hurtsboro (Behind the Sheriff’s Precinct), 511 Main St, Hurtsboro, Ala. 36860

  • Chambers County:

    • 1077, County Road 139, Wadley, Ala.; call dispatch at (334) 576-0914 for availability

    • 2094 Patrick Street, Waverly, Ala.; call Waverly Town Hall at 334-887-0999 for availability

    • Southern Union Community College, basement of the Business & Technology Center, 1701 Lafayette Parkway, Opelika, Ala. 36801. Call Lee County EMA at (334) 749-8161 for availability.

  • Lee County:

    • Beauregard Volunteer Fire Station 4 off Hwy 51

    • Providence Baptist Church, East Campus, 2807 Lee Road 166, Opelika, Ala. 36804

    • Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 784 Lee Road 298 Smiths Station, Ala. 36877 (one block from Smiths Station Junior High)

    • Southern Union Community College, basement of the Business & Technology Center, 1701 Lafayette Parkway, Opelika, Ala. 36801. Call Lee County EMA at (334) 749-8161 for availability.

    • Auburn University, Greene Hall, 1130 Wire Road, Auburn Ala. 36832

    • Auburn University, Ralph Brown Draughon Library, 231 Mell Street, Auburn Ala. 36849

    • Auburn United Methodist Church, 137 S. Gay Street, Auburn, Ala. 36830

    • Open Door Tabernacle Church, 2089 Lee Road 42, Opelika, Ala. 36804

    • Greater Peace Baptist Church, 650 Jeter Avenue, Opelika, Ala. 36801


  • Sumter County:

    • 1605 N. Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, Americus, Ga. 31719

    • 127 William Bowen Pointe, Americus, Ga. 31719

  • Meriwether County:

    • Greenville High School, 17656 Roosevelt Hwy, Greenville, Ga. 30222

    • George E. Washington Elementary, 18425 Main St, Woodbury, Ga. 30293

    • Manchester High School, 405 N 5th Ave, Manchester, Ga. 31816

Please note that not all counties have public emergency shelters. Often community organizations, like churches, will open their doors ahead of and after storms. Muscogee County EMA director Chance Corbett encourages everyone to have a plan ahead of the storms.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WRBL.