With March being Storm Preparedness Month, knowing where your closest public storm shelter is can be crucial when severe weather hits.
If you are in an area that is under a severe storm weather warning or tornado warning, it is advised to find shelter. If you do not have your own storm shelter, making use of a nearby public shelter may be the next option.
In Missouri, Joplin Schools offers various storm shelters within their schools for the public’s use. As Joplin Schools writes: “The following Community Safe Rooms are available to the community during a Tornado Warning, and/or when the tornado sirens have sounded. If Community Safe Rooms open before a Tornado Warning, or before tornado sirens sound, notification will be posted on the district’s Facebook page.”
They also provide a map showing the locations of the 14 schools available with safe room storm shelters. These locations include:
Cecil Floyd Elementary
2201 W. 24th St.
202 Malloy Cr., Duenweg
1131 Highview Ave.
2901 S. McClelland Blvd.
130 McKinley Ave.
Joplin High School
2104 Indiana Ave.
800 Junge Blvd.
Kelsey Norman Elementary
1323 E. 28th St.
610 S. Forest Ave.
Royal Heights Elementary
2100 Rolla St.
Soaring Heights Elementary
4604 E. 20th St.
101 E. 41st. St.
West Central Elementary
1001 W. 7th St.
Other shelters available in Missouri, located in Newton County according to the Newton County website, includes:
South Elementary — 1111 Wornall St. Blvd.
Carver Elementary — 12350 Norway Rd.
Neosho High School — 511 S Neosho Blvd.
Davidson Hall — 601 Laclede Ave.
East Newton High School — 22876 Hwy. 86
Seneca Intermediate School — 1815 St. Eugene St.
Between middle and elementary school — 401 S. Main
East of the Veterans’ Memorial located on Ozark Street
Additional shelters available to Missouri residents located in McDonald County, according to the McDonald County’s website, includes:
Pineville Elementary School — 8th and Highway W.
Southwest City Elementary School — 411 Academy Street
McDonald County High School — 100 Mustang Lane
Freeman Health also provides a comprehensive list of FEMA approved storm shelters throughout the state of Missouri.
Community shelters available in Cherokee County, according to the City of Columbus, includes:
Middle School – 104 Military Ave.
Central School – 1501 Park Ave.
Lincoln Elementary School – 801 Lincoln Ave.
Calvary Baptist Church – 605 E. Sycamore St.
Park School – 724 Garfield Ave.
Liberty Grade School – 624 E 8th St.
Spring Grove School – 1900 Galena Ave.
Galena High School – 602 E 8th St.
Spring River Mental Health & Wellness Center – 6610 SE. Quakervalle Rd.
Roseland City Hall/ Community Storm Shelter – 101 W. Roseland Blvd.
Weir Elementary School – 303 S. Humbert St.
West Mineral Fire Station – 106 Patterson St.
Other shelters available to the public in Kansas, located in Allen County according to the Allen County website, includes:
North side of the road – 2nd and Main
Fees Park – 201 N. Morrill
Behind City Hall – 205 N. Stanley
Community Center – 624 W. Pine
North End of Barley Lane
2nd and Humphrey St.
South End of Sout Morrill
Walnut and Daly
South Stanley and 3rd St.
Cannon Park – 9th and Charles
Water Plant – 2nd and Bridge
Swimming Pool – 801 Indiana
Lutheran Church – 910 Amos
City Hall – 725 Bridge
Bowlus (backdoor from the alley) –205 E. Madison
Lincoln School (south door, west side) – 700 N. Jefferson
McKinley School (east side) – 209 S. Kentucky
South end of the park – 7th and Jackson
East side of the church – 9th and Jefferson
City Hall – 10th and Broadway
Behind the library – 319 N. Cedar
East side of ball fields – 511 W. Randolph.
Additional public shelters in Kansas, located in Neosho County according to the Neosho County website, includes:
Tioga Hotel – Corner of Main St. & Lincoln Ave.
NCCC Gymnasium – 800 W. 14th St.
Lincoln School – 1000 W. Main St.
Erie Courthouse – 101 S. Main St.
Thayer United Methodist Church – Corner of Labette & Okmulgee
Band Shell at Thayer City Park
St. Paul High School – 318 1st Street (K-47 Highway)
Public shelters available in the City of Parsons, according to the city’s website, includes:
Parsons Municipal Building, basement
112 S. 17th St. (North/South Doors)
Fire Station #1, basement
Guthridge School, safe room
1020 S. 31st St.
Lincoln School, safe room
1800 Dirr Ave.
Garfield School, safe room
300 S. 14th St.
Parsons High School, safe room
3030 Morton (East Side)
Additional Kansas shelters available to the community, located in Crawford County according to their respective websites, includes:
Northeast High School — 1003 E S. St.
Currently there is no public storm shelter available in Pittsburg. Instead, the City of Pittsburg website stated that in the instance of a tornado or severe weather to, “Remain calm and seek shelter immediately in an interior room, away from windows and exterior walls.”
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management released a statement in March 2020 addressing public shelters in the time of the Coronavirus. They state that your first priority should be protecting yourself from a potential tornado. Though they added that it is up to the discretion of the local officials whether a community shelter is offered or not and it is advised to check with officials to ensure they are open. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said in the statement that citizens should not forget the imminent fear of a tornado, even amid COVID-19.
“… If you have to seek refuge in a community shelter, try to practice social distancing and other precautions as much as possible to minimize your risk,” Kelly said.