With severe weather predicted for the Cullman area Tuesday afternoon, some residents may need to seek shelter. The National Weather Service (NWS) along with the Alabama Department of Public Health, are advising people to seek shelter if needed, rather than worry about maintaining social distancing.

Cullman County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Phyllis Little said the advice recognizes the threat tornadoes pose to people living in mobile homes or structures without adequate shelter. “You’re in imminent danger if we were to have a tornado,” she said. “We know what the danger is there.”

The NWS said in a statement: “The decision to seek shelter in a community storm shelter is certainly made more difficult by the consideration for COVID-19, and each individual will need to make an educated decision on where and when to shelter from a tornado.

At this time, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is recommending that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado. If a warning is issued for your area, you are more likely to be affected by the tornado than the virus.”

With the possibility of severe storms Tuesday, people may want to be prepared to go to a shelter and protect themselves from spreading the coronavirus.

“Bring your own hand sanitizer or wipes,” said Little. “And once the storm passes, go back home to continue social distancing.”

Alabama is currently in its spring tornado season, which runs from March - May.

Little also announced that Cullman EMA’s app - available for free in the app store - has been updated to add local COVID-19 information and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Through the app, people can find out more about the pandemic, and also find local resources such as the Cullman Regional call center if you have questions about COVID-19.

Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 Ext. 116.

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