GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Across the Finney and Kearney County area Tuesday night people outside could see the ominous storm in the sky.
“We saw kind of like a mushroom… a big circle type thing that just started spinning,” said Meadowlark Trailer Park resident Jackie Coats.
“It’s really necessary to have a basement in a mobile home park, that’s why when we bought the place our first priority was the basement,” said Meadowlark Manager Jose Acosta.
For other trailer parks without a community shelter, or homes without basements, knowing where the nearest public shelter is is crucial.
“We have information that’s available to the public with the places that they can go take refuge in if they do not have a place to go,” said Finney County Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Paz-Torres.
There are about 30 public buildings designated as shelters in Finney County.
Only a few are open 24 hours a day, but Paz-Torres said they work to unlock those spaces as soon as they’re needed.
Meadowlark’s shelter used to stay locked because of vandalism.
When Acosta’s family bought the trailer park they had security cameras installed in the shelter building, that way they could leave the doors unlocked 24/7, giving residents access to shelter whenever they need it.
“You just never know when it’s going to happen and what time,” said Acosta.
People gathered outside of the shelter while they watched the sky, finally going underground when the rain and hail started coming down.
“If we sound the siren there’s a reason that we’re doing it,” Paz-Torres said.