Be prepared for severe weather

Published 4:42 pm Monday, March 4, 2019

It’s about 30 miles from Valley to Beauregard, where the worst part of Sunday’s tornado outbreak took lives and destroyed homes.

At the time of this writing, 23 people have been found dead and many others are missing. The major tornado in Lee County was declared an EF-4 by the National Weather Service in Birmingham and was almost a mile wide. According to the website U.S. Tornadoes, there were 97 tornado warnings across Alabama, Georgia and Florida on Sunday.

As it often does, the destruction caused by Mother Nature has brought out the best in people. Schools and churches in Chambers County have worked together to donate food, supplies, clothing and other items to the people recovering in Lee County. Businesses have donated items. First responders were sent to Lee County on Sunday to help the men and women in need. East Alabama Medical Center saw an influx of patients and thankfully by Monday most of them had already been treated and released.

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If you want to help, there are many ways to do so, and we encourage doing so. The easiest way is probably to donate supplies at one of the schools in the Chambers County School System, which is taking donations through Tuesday.

This storm is also a reminder of the importance of having a way to get weather information. Obviously, watching the weather and being in a safe place doesn’t necessarily guarantee safety. We’re guessing many of the people injured and killed in Lee County were weather aware Sunday, but we’re in the wrong place at wrong time.

However, staying up to date on the weather is the best way to stay safe. The National Weather Service posted for days about the chance for severe weather Sunday, including putting parts of Alabama and Georgia in an enhanced window for tornadoes.

Obviously, that doesn’t always mean bad weather is imminent, but it does mean to be careful and to keep an eye on the sky. 

There are so many ways in 2019 to get weather information, whether it’s through an app, the television, Facebook or a weather radio. Basically, you can pick a platform and you can get weather updates that way. Some of the people in Beauregard and Smith Station had just minutes before the storm impacted their area.

It’s not a lot of time, but a few minutes can save lives.  We write this a lot, but now is also a good time to talk with family about a plan for when severe weather strikes again.

There was never a tornado warning for Chambers County on Sunday and the majority of the severe weather stayed south of us. Not far south, but far enough.

Let’s be thankful for that, do our best to help those who were affected and plan in case the weather comes through our area next time.