Did You Know Wichita Falls Has No Public Storm Shelters?
I think most people already knew this, but I was unaware.
So I have lived in Wichita Falls since 2007. Around this time of the year, we remind you to always be weather aware. May to June is peak tornado season for our area, but in Wichita Falls we're well aware of the anniversary of Terrible Tuesday in April. Last night, north of us in Oklahoma they had some severe weather.
Golf ball sized hail struck western Oklahoma last night and people were talking about public shelters during the coronavirus. Obviously cramming people into a public shelter when we should be social distancing is a bad idea. Integris runs the public shelters in Oklahoma City. They say due to the current pandemic, the public will not be able to use their buildings or any other hospital to shelter from storms.
So I decided to see where our public shelters were in Wichita Falls and we don't have any. This is from the city's website. "This area is under Tornado Watches so often that people would not go to these shelters during a Tornado Watch. Once a tornado is spotted on the ground, the worst place to be is in an automible. In the 1979 tornado, half of the people who died were in cars."
Officials with Faith Mission told KAUZ last year that folks needing a shelter could use their three locations at Travis street, Faith Refuge on Hatton Road and the Resale shop on Old Jacksboro Highway. I know some folks have a storm shelter on their property, remember you want to register that with the city. In case a severe event happens, the city is aware that you're in there.
Remember, if no shelter, this is where you need to go:
Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
Stay safe out there and remember to always have a plan.