Tornado sheltering options NWS

Channel 3 is working to compile a list of public storm shelters. This list is not comprehensive but acts as a starting point for you to better know your local severe weather safety options and make a plan. If your county is not listed, reach out to Emergency Management where you live. 

Before severe weather strikes, you need to know where to go.

Safe shelter from a tornado or severe storm is the lowest interior room of a well-constructed home or building - like a bathroom, closet, or basement. The room should have no windows, and you want as many walls between you and the outside.

READ MORE | Channel 3 Storm Alert Weather

If you live in a mobile home, it is not safe to stay there. Please make arrangements to stay with family or friends or utilize one of the area's public shelters.

Note, if you will be sheltering at another person's home, business, or public shelter, you must be at the location well before a tornado warning is issued. It's dangerous to drive to a shelter while the warning is ongoing. Please, plan ahead.

Use this list to locate your closest shelter and learn how to determine if/when it officially opens. Please, confirm all details ahead of time as locations, addresses, phone numbers, and procedures may change.

Several counties also have county-based alert systems for which you can sign-up to receive weather and emergency alerts via text, phone call, or email.


Bradley County, TN - EMA 423-728-7289

  • Public storm shelters available
  • Emergency Management officials monitor the weather situation and will send out a notification if shelters open through their community alert system (make sure to sign up) and post on Facebook and Twitter.
    • Walker Valley High School - 750 Lauderdale Memorial Hwy
    • Fire Station 11 – 365 Minnis Rd
    • Fire Station 12 – 2015 New Street
    • Fire Station 13 – 5345 Georgetown Rd NW
  • Sign up for county-based alerts

Grundy County, TN 

  • Public storm shelters available
  • Please call and let shelter workers know that you are coming so building will be open.
    • Altamont - City Hall in the Florence Scruggs Building (old Altamont School) - 235-1012 ... March 25 at 10:30am shelter is open now
    • Beersheba Springs - Grace Baptist Church - 56 Backbone Rd. - 692-3080
    • No Shelters in Gruetli/Laager or Coalmont - Go to Tracy or Altamont.
    • Monteagle - First Baptist Church - 239 First St - 235-0273
    • Palmer - First Baptist Church Basement - 2628 Main Street - 467-3263
    • Pelham - Valley Home Methodist - 3406 Hwy 41 ... March 25 at 10:30am shelter is open now
    • Tracy City - First Baptist Church - 531 Main St - 434-9745
  • Sign up for county-based alerts

Hamilton County, TN - Office of Emergency Management 423-209-6919

  • No municipal public storm shelters
  • No county-wide weather text/phone/email alerts for voluntary registration
  • County is able to send out Wireless Emergency Alerts via IPAWS system. Must be turned on within cellphone settings. It'll sound and look similar to an AMBER alert.
  • Although there are no county-run shelters, individual communities, organizations, and churches may open up for safe shelters during storms.

Marion County, TN - Emergency Management 423-942-2528 

McMinn County, TN – EMA 423-744-5256, ext 2 Director Tom Trotter

Meigs County, TN – Sheriff's Office 423-334-3182

  • No municipal public storm shelters
  • Local churches will open up their basements. They are not officially storm rated but will be available. Check Meigs County Sheriff's Office page for locations as they're posted.
    • South end – Mt. Carmel Church – entry will be basement door – 276 Mr. Carmel Rd
    • North end – Peakland Baptist Church – 514 Peakland Rd
    • City – First Baptist Church – 240 N. Main St … will open if needed

Polk County, TN - 911 Emergency Alert District - Benton 423-338-8215 and Ducktown- 423-496-3301

  • Public storm shelters available
  • Check to make sure they are open first. Call a non-emergency number or check Facebook.
    • West side of county – Emergency Operations Center – 6034 Hwy 411, Benton
    • Polk County Courthouse – 6239 Hwy 411
    • East side of county – Community Center – 840 Cherokee Trl, Ducktown
  • Sign up for county-based alerts

Rhea County, TN - Justice Center 423-775-2505 ext. 1

  • No municipal public storm shelters
  • New EMA director and deputy director - working to set things up for future - Steven McMillan, Deputy Director of EMA 423-650-2150
  • No county-wide weather text/phone/email alerts
    • Graysville City Hall - 136 Harrison Ave at 5:00pm
      • Details:  The City of Graysville Volunteer Fire Department will be opening the community room at Graysville City Hall beginning at 5:00 p.m. today for a severe weather shelter. Enter through the rear of city hall. Service animals will be permitted only, No Pets.

Sequatchie County, TN - Dispatch/Emergency Management 423-949-9912 

  • Public storm shelters available
  • Sequatchie County Rescue Squad and Fire Departments are on standby. EMA director reaches out to each fire chief to see if can open to the public.
  • Follow the Sequatchie Co 9-1-1 & Emergency Management Facebook page or call 423-949-9912 to see if shelters are open.
    • Southend Fire Department - New Highway 28, Dunlap
    • Fredonia Fire - 5216 Fredonia Rd, Dunlap
    • Cagle Fire - 8230 TN-8, Dunlap
    • Lewis Chapel Fire - 4760 Henson Gap Rd, Dunlap
    • Lone Oak Fire - 1278 US-127, Signal Mountain
    • Sequatchie County Rescue Squad in the middle of town by Ace Hardware - 16385 Rankin Ave, Dunlap
  • No county-wide weather text/phone/email alerts


Catoosa County, GA - Emergency Management 706-935-2323 

Chattooga County, GA - EMA 706-857-3400/3403

  • No municipal public storm shelters
  • No county-wide weather text/phone/email alerts

Dade County, GA - Emergency Services 706-657-4111

  • Public storm shelters available
  • Check for updates from Dade County.
    • Administration Building - 72 Case Avenue, Trenton
    • Justice Building - 75 Case Avenue, Trenton
    • Dade County HUB (a group of 20+ area churches) will provide temporary shelters throughout the county, which may change from event to event. Check the above link to see which are open. Contact numbers will be given for each church. They also work for recovery and relief after storms.
  • Dade County's Facebook page is updated often, too.
  • Sign up for county-based alerts.

Fannin County, TN – EMA 706-632-1958

Gilmer County, GA – Fire Department 706-635-1333

  • Public storm shelter available - open as needed
  • Use Gilmer County Public Safety Facebook or call 706-635-1333 for updates if shelters open
    • Civic Center - 1559 South Main Street, Ellijay
  • Sign up for county-based alerts… online link is not working currently

Walker County, GA - Emergency Management 706-375-7810 (combined with 9-1-1 center)

  • Public storm shelters available
  • They’ll notify people who have signed up with their community alert system if/when shelters open.
    • Walker County Civic Center and Ag Center - 10052 N Highway 27, Rock Spring (the Ag Center will be equipped to handle crated pets)
    • Cedar Grove Community Center - 5423 W Cove Road, Chickamauga
    • Armuchee Valley Community Center - 11471 Highway 136, LaFayette
    • Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene - 2853 Chattanooga Valley Road, Flintstone
    • Possibly additional local churches
  • More county information here.
  • Sign up for county-based alerts.

Whitfield County, GA - Emergency Management 706-259-3730

  • No municipal public storm shelters
  • Some churches will open to the public for storm shelter. Have to monitor social media. The county does not keep a running list of the churches.
  • Sign up for county-based alerts.


Cherokee County, NC – EMA 828-837-7352

  • No municipal public storm shelters
  • Residents encouraged to pre-plan for a safe location.
  • If damage is severe enough post-storm, a fixed shelter will be opened.
  • Sign up for county-based alerts


DeKalb County, AL - EMA 256-845-8569

Jackson County, AL - EMA 256-574-9344

  • Public storm shelters available (list below)
  • Note, the courthouse shelter will be closed to the public until there is a warning issued. You may park outside the building and then come inside once there’s a warning.
  • Sign up for county-based alerts. Works for mobile & landline phones.

If you are part of a community organization, such as a church, and open your facility as a public storm shelter, please, reach out to Channel 3 Storm Alert Meteorologist Alison Pryor to be added to the list.