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‘It can be a matter of seconds to minutes’: Lubbock emergency plans in case of a disaster

May 11, 1970 Tornadoes
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The May 11,1970 tornadoes killed 26 Lubbock residents and injured more than 1,500.

The EF5 tornado destroyed $135 million worth of private property and $7.5 million in public property.

The storm wasn’t originally predicted to go through Lubbock but that changed rapidly, says the communications and marketing manager for the City of Lubbock, Lacey Nobles.

“It came on so quick that there wasn’t a lot of time to prepare,” Nobles said.

KCBD Chief Meteorologist, John Robison, says it is important to designate a room to take shelter in now. He says don’t wait until a tornado warning is issued because you may only have seconds.

The city has the Emergency Operations Plan in case disaster does strike. This plan includes debris management, recovery and rescue, donation management, and volunteer management.

This plan is a lot similar to the one from 1970, which was called the Civil Defense Plan.

Nobles says a big part of emergency planning is also communication. That is why she recommends everyone to get signed up for the emergency alert system.

“We encourage people to sign up for LBK Alert, which is tied right into the weather service,” Nobles said. “So, if they’re issuing a warning or a watch, it goes straight out.”

EF5 tornadoes are the most severe, but any of them can be dangerous.

“If it rolls into a town even the EF1s and 2s can cause death,” Robison said. “Obviously, the larger ones are going to potentially cause a lot of damage and potentially a lot of injuries and death.”

If a tornado warning is issued for your area, Robison says to take shelter in a basement or cellar if possible. If not, use bathrooms, hallways, and closets. If you are traveling on the road, pull over and get away from the car. If you can’t get in a building lay flat on the ground, just be careful of low areas due to flooding.

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