EMA Director Alex Case Gives Updates On Weather Services

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This weekend, residents of Northwest Georgia can expect some rough weather to arrive. It is predicted to get to northwest Alabama between 5:00AM and 7:00 AM. This comes one week after another severe storm formed extremely quickly, causing damages and power outages throughout Dade and its neighbors. During this event, a number of people took to social media with complaints that, upon arriving at the storm shelter at the Dade County Sports complex, they claim to have found the entrance locked, leaving them in the rough weather. County Commissioner Ted Rumley spoke with The Mountain-Valley Independent about these comments on social media, saying that although he had not received any calls about this incident, citizens can rest assured that everything will be handled properly.

After reporting that other shelters like the South Dade shelter had been opened, Commissioner Rumley assured Dade County that, while the storm shelter process is still getting hammered out, it will be all ready to go for the next weather event.

“If [the shelters] weren’t open before, they will be next time,” Commissioner Rumley said. “When those to the west of us, Jackson County, Huntsville receive a warning, we’ll be on top of it in Dade.”

EMA Director Alex Case, spoke on KWN Morning News Thursday morning, and informed listeners of the details of the storm and included his feelings that communication from the weather service out of Peachtree City delivered their warnings too late to effectively get the word out. Speaking about the Hyper Reach program that citizens can sign up for, Mr. Case explained that, in the case of last weekend, it took three minutes for the system to take the data about the storm, convert it into a voice message, and apply it to all the phone numbers in the area where the tornado warning was. He went on to say that what Dade County EMA is trying to remind Weather Services is that they need to get “way ahead of it” so that everyone can be informed with plenty of time.

In the case of last weekend, the campaign to warn everyone about the severe thunderstorm began at 2:33am. At 2:35, they issued a tornado warning. At 2:38, a siren went off. This was, essentially, two separate weather campaigns that were sent within five minutes; the third or fourth time this has happened.

Regarding the social media reports of the locked storm shelter, Mr. Case informed listeners that the trigger for the storm shelters is Tornado Watches. The issue last weekend with the Tornado Watch was that while Jackson and DeKalb Counties recieved Watches at 10:47pm (eastern time), one was never issued for Dade County. This is something that Mr. Case said is going to change. EMA will be watching for a Watch to be issued further out and headed toward Dade. Once that happens, Dade County will begin making preparations.

There is a need for volunteers in the Davis Community and nearby the Sports Complex to help manage those shelters respectively and to make sure all hands possible are on deck. EMA’s staff is limited and welcomes all help offered.

Mr. Case reminded listeners, however, that everyone needs to prepare themselves for severe weather events, specifically informing listeners that Dade’s Tornado sirens, while loud and noticable, are not meant to wake citizens up. Their purpose it to get the attention of any who may already be outdoors such as the Sports Complex, the city park, and at the Bowl near Davis.

For more information regarding Dade County’s Severe Weather readiness, visit the county website:

https://www.dadecounty-ga.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=88

To listen to EMA Director Case’s comments, watch here!