Construction begins on 2 of 21 storm shelters planned for Walker

Construction begins on 2 of 21 storm shelters planned for Walker County

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The concrete slab for a storm shelter is in place in Thatch. It's one of 21 storm shelters the county plans to build before the fall. Source: Judson Garner/WBRC The concrete slab for a storm shelter is in place in Thatch. It's one of 21 storm shelters the county plans to build before the fall. Source: Judson Garner/WBRC
WALKER COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Work is underway to make Walker County safer from the next outbreak of deadly tornadoes.

Two concrete slabs have been poured to make way for storm shelters in the Thach and Nauvoo communities.

Walker County resident Jason Latham understands firsthand about the dangers of tornadoes. Last March, a tornado tossed his mobile home off its foundation.

"I just stepped inside. A tornado flipped me and my truck," Latham said.

Latham's grandmother lives a few yards away from the planned storm shelter in Thach. He feels better knowing his grandmother will have place to go if danger threatens.

"It's wonderful. She is on up in age and really has no way of going. If siren goes off and has early enough warning, she can go hide out and get some shelter," Latham said.

Roger Wilson is the Director of the Walker County 911 System. Wilson is overseeing the construction of the storm shelters. The cost is about $100,000. Federal grant funds pays for 75 percent of the costs and local communities pay the rest. Wilson said the shelter will be able to house up to 99 people.

"You can spend money on one shelter and have 99 people verses individual shelter to house six people," Wilson said.

Once the concrete is ready, prefabricated shelters will be put in place. The process can take one to two months. Walker County wants to have 21 shelters in place across the county before the fall tornado season. The shelters will be especially helpful for people living in mobile home parks.

"[We've] got several mobile home parks out in the county ,that is not the place to be when a tornado is coming," Wilson said.

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