Coronavirus Prompts Cities, Residents to Rethink Use of Storm Shelters

A tornado over the plains of Oklahoma.

A tornado over the plains of Oklahoma. (Jim Kurdzo/University of Oklahoma)

March 19, 2020

When tornadoes and severe storms threaten communities in Oklahoma this spring, residents may find their public storm shelters are not open.

They may also find they’re less willing to hurry to their neighbors’ house to protect themselves by crowding into their underground shelter.

“The Covid-19 pandemic arrived just as we are entering into our primary storm season,” said Keli Cain, public information manager at the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

Federal and state public health officials recommend people avoid gathering in groups larger than 10 to slow the spread of the disease. Local jurisdictions will have to make the call whether to open their public shelters, Cain said.

“Public facilities may be closed. We’re really encouraging people to start thinking about that now,” she said. “This is just March. We still have April, May and June where we have a high frequency of severe weather.”

Continue reading on Oklahoma Watch.

Kathryn McNutt, Oklahoma Watch

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Mass Shootings, a Supreme Court Ruling, Bipartisan Legislation: How America Reached This Moment on Guns
FRONTLINE has been chronicling America’s dialogue on guns for years. Get the backstory on the recent news in these documentaries.
June 29, 2022
The Supreme Court Has Overturned 'Roe v. Wade.' These Documentaries Show How We Got Here.
Overriding nearly five decades of legal precedent, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. These documentaries offer context on how America reached this moment.
June 24, 2022
Why the Black Educator Forced Out Over Bogus Critical Race Theory Claims Wanted to Share Her Story
ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr explains why educator Cecelia Lewis was hesitant to speak to reporters about white parents forcing her out of her job and why she ultimately decided she had to.
June 18, 2022
White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Cecelia Lewis was asked to apply for a Georgia school district’s first-ever administrator job devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion. A group of parents — coached by local and national anti-CRT groups — had other plans.
June 16, 2022