Storm shelter gives south Georgia woman peace of mind - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Storm shelter gives south Georgia woman peace of mind

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia is heading toward the peak of tornado season. 

That is an especially frightening thought for people who have lived through a tornado.

After surviving the powerful twister that pounded Americus almost two years ago, one woman decided to buy some peace of mind for her backyard. 

Since the devastation on March 1, 2007 in Americus any time severe weather threatens southwest Georgia Pamela Bryant is on alert.

"I'm always watching the radar," said Pamela Bryant. If severe weather threatens she leaves the comforts of her mobile home for the Hampton Inn.

"It had got to a point every time they said severe storms I was going to stay at the hotel," said Bryant.

"Everybody knows her by name, now," said Mattie Harris, Pamela's mother.

That changed last week, when Pamela had a storm shelter installed in her backyard.

"The vents, they have the air holes here, and you can close them up, they have the cap on them if the weather starts getting real bad," said Bryant.

The seven and a half foot wide fiberglass shelter is buried 10 feet deep, it can hold up to 12 people with a door that latches several times.

"These doors are really heavy," said Bryant.

FEMA actually recommends a shelter like Pamela's for southwest Georgia. Using FEMA Publication 320 you can see south Georgia can get up to 200 mile per hour winds and experiences an average of six to ten tornados a year. That puts us in the high risk category on FEMA's chart.

"Unfortunately often time people don't take the precaution they need to tie down a trailer type home and winds get up underneath it and lifts it up and just completely throws it with unfortunately some very bad consequences," said Jim Vaught, Dougherty EMA Deputy Director.

Now no matter the consequences, Pamela Bryant has peace of mind.

"I didn't have to run away from home, I can be right there in my back yard," said Bryant.

The cost for this type of shelter can run anywhere from $2,500 to $6,000.

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