Thursday, April 12 2012 4:09 PM EDT2012-04-12 20:09:27 GMT
Students at the University of Alabama hunkered down as a massive, mile-wide tornado came within a mile of the campus that houses thousands of people. It became the site of terror many of them had never experienced before.More >>
The spring of 2011 is shaping up to be a record-breaking season for weather fatalities. At 45, the number of people who have died from April storms now matches the total number of weather fatalities in 2010.More >>
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President Barack Obama and his family toured the shattered remains of storm-ravaged neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa, AL, and offered hope and help as 19 Alabama counties and seven states attempt to recover from storms that killed more than 300 people.More >>
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
On August 29, 2011, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced the formation of the Tornado Recovery Action Council, or TRAC.
The group of industry and government leaders had a simple mission; to help Alabama recover and be better prepared for the next disaster.
"There's no question that our state is in a much better state of severe weather preparedness than we were April 26th of 2011," said Ron Gray, TRAC Executive Director.
TRAC members conducted research and worked to come up with 20 key ways to improve Alabama's response before and after a disaster.
"They just did a great job and made recommendations to us. We have already put in place four of those 20 recommendations," said Bentley.
The state has already declared a disaster preparedness tax holiday and rolled out a state-wide text alert system called Safe-T-Net with the help of private industry.
"We believe that particular recommendation that we provided in that area will have the potential to dramatically change the way our citizens react to storm weather warnings," Gray said about the system.
Other long term measures are on the way including: building more community shelters, installing more warning sirens, creating a contractor registry and using the state's universities to research and teach students how to help with recovery.
"I'm excited that our state is leading this country in all facets of preparedness and response to severe weather outbreaks," Gray added.
Critics have said the recommendations have been enacted too slowly. Gray said many of them were designed to be long-term recommendations that will take several months or years to implement. He said he feels that Alabama is on the right track to becoming better prepared.
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