By WVUA 23 Reporter Kinsley Centers

The fear of severe weather was on the rise yesterday and the Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency works to prepare residents in the area.

Dianna Dollar, the Tuscaloosa County EMA Deputy Director, said the weather on Wednesday night was difficult to prepare for due to the large time frame. She said when it is an overnight weather event, people do not have much time to react once they get a tornado warning.

“Go ahead and have your safe place picked out,” Dollar said. “If you shelter in a closet and maybe it is piled up with a bunch of stuff, go ahead and clean that out before you go to bed. Make sure you’ve got fresh batteries in your flashlights and your NOAA weather radio so that you can react as soon as that warning goes out.”

One way to stay weather aware is to sign up for TuscAlert at www.TuscAlert.com. This is a free emergency messaging system that sends alerts by phone call, text message, email or a combination of all three if the address submitted is under a weather threat. Users set up their account and enter the address of their home so they are able to get timely notifications of severe weather in their area.

“You will only get alerts for that address when it is included in a National Weather Service watch or warning,” Dollar said. “You’re not going to have your phone going off all night long, so this is a good way to stay prepared.”

Dollar recommends using a NOAA weather radio for overnight severe weather events since they alert loudly when a threat is issued. She said they can be heard from multiple rooms around someone’s home.

Time is crucial when it comes to severe weather threats. The Tuscaloosa County EMA advises community members to stay weather aware and to have a plan ahead of time.

“Make sure that your family is practiced and ready to go,” Dollar said. “Paying attention is the biggest thing because you don’t want to be caught off-guard by bad weather.”

The Tuscaloosa County EMA posts regularly on their social media and website regarding severe weather in the area. When severe weather is predicted, visit their website at www.TuscaloosaCountyEMA.org and find them on Facebook and Twitter to get information on weather and shelters opening in the area.

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