Demand For Storm Shelters Rises As Texoma Enters Storm Season - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Demand For Storm Shelters Rises As Texoma Enters Storm Season

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ARDMORE, OK -- People across Texoma are gearing up for severe weather season and after a tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma last May, knowing where to go is top priority.

The ominous clouds over Ardmore bring with them the unspoken message that severe weather season is here.

"Living here in Oklahoma, you know what can happen and after seeing that it was so bad," said Jimmy Harkins, speaking about last May's tornado.

Harkins recently bought a tornado safety room and installed it in his garage after seeing the devastation from the Moore tornado to prepare for the upcoming storm season.

Deerebuilt Manufacturing says they've seen demand rise since the twister tore through Moore last may.

"A spike right after that, for probably three or four months," said Marty Currier, with Deerebuilt. "Phone rang off the hook. We were working round the clock to build storm shelters from that point on."

County and city directors at the emergency management office in Ardmore say community shelter options are limited.

"It's not financially feasible, it's not personnel feasible to try to maintain out in the rural areas," said county director Paul Tucker.

City director Amber Wilson says the gym at Plainview High School can serve as shelter.

"It does have limited spacing so we try to encourage only the people who have nowhere else to go," said Wilson.

Wilson says sheltering in place when severe weather hits is better than traveling to a shelter.

"Because somebody around them is probably more than likely going to have a storm shelter and they will open up to their neighbors," said Wilson.

It may sit above ground, but safety rooms can be installed in peoples' garages and experts say that makes them just as safe as shelters that are placed underground because people don't have to expose themselves to the storm's elements.

"I feel great about it," said Harkins about his new shelter. "Hope we don't have a tornado but I feel safe with it."

Emergency management directors say to have a plan of where to go and what to do in place before severe weather hits.

Wilson says over 400 storm shelters and safe rooms have been registered within Ardmore city limits over the past year.