Skip to Content

Public storm shelters, where to go and what to know

Where should you go if the sirens sound for a tornado warning in your area? The best option would be to get to the lowest interior room of your home and protect your head, But what happens when you are either not at home, or your home does not have a sufficient safe space?

The first thing you should do is have a plan ahead of time. The best way to do this is to pay attention to the forecast for your area by watching your local news such as ABC17 or by following your local National Weather Service office. By staying in the know, you will have ample amount of time to get to where you need to be in times of heightened risk.

Talking to neighbors or family members in your area that have submerged basements is also a great idea. According to local offices of emergency management around Mid-Missouri, not all counties have public shelters advertised. Neither Boone or Cole counties have publicly advertised shelters.

SEMA funded Storm Shelters/ Status

Callaway county has a storm shelter that was built from aid with SEMA funding in 2007 known as the Holts Summit Community Shelter. For counties that do not have publicly advertised shelter at the county level, the best way to find out about local public shelters is to reach out to nearby school districts and fire districts via phone or email to see if they offer a storm ready shelter and what their guidelines are for opening it.

Another great resource to use when away from home and traveling during severe weather is to visit This website was created by meteorologist Craig Ceecee of Mississippi State University. This resource utilizes google maps and pin points up to 1600 public tornado shelters around the country providing safe options and information breaking down the shelter type and capacity.

Incorporating a proper shelter location into your families emergency plans is an important step in staying safe this severe weather season.

Don’t forget to tune in Friday night the 24th at 6:30 on abc17 or 9:30 on fox 22 to find out more safety tips and information on severe storms!

Article Topic Follows: Weather

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms.

Chance joined the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February 2021. He is currently the weekday noon meteorologist.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content