A Storm Shelter Will Be Landing In Starkville

OKTIBBEHA and MONROE COUNTIES, Miss. (WCBI) – Severe weather is possible this weekend.

There are some storm shelters in the area, but not every community has buildings of safety, so we asked how some have them and others do not.

As of now, there’s not a designated storm shelter in Oktibbeha County.

However, one is being built.

This project started about six years ago, but last November a $1.54 million grant was given to the county to help complete the project.

A nearly 9,000 square foot multipurpose building will soon fill this lot, possibly saving lives if a tornado comes through Starkville.

“The process actually began in 2012, and it’s a lengthy process that we’ve gone through, but we did approve the bid last month, so from this point, we’re thinking it’s going to take about a year,” says Oktibbeha County Supervisor, Bricklee Miller.

What makes the future shelter unique is how it was funded.

Monroe County EMA Director, Bunky Goza says FEMA usually gives grants after a natural disaster happens, like what happened in Smithville, nearly 7 years ago.

In this case, Oktibbeha County went to lawmakers on Capitol Hill for the money.

“You do have a tendency, you think when a disaster happens to get more funding. Of course, Oktibbeha County had a severe event several years ago, as well. It wasn’t an actual declaration.”

The storm shelter will look different than most expect, but can still withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour.

“The domed shape is actually unique, as well. The closest one to Oktibbeha is in Smithville, so there’s not a lot of these domed shape buildings.”

The building will hold more than 1,600 people when a warning is issued and people outdoors hear the eerie reminder of Mother Nature’s fury.

“The way FEMA decides what size building you’re going to get is based off of the population within one mile of where you locate your building, as well as, within five minutes of reach for citizens.”

Miller says plans are already in place when severe weather strikes.

“When a watch goes out, is when the building will open.”

There will soon be a groundbreaking ceremony.

FEMA is paying for 87% of the shelter.

Categories: Local News

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