Neighbors Concerned About Late Emergency Alert After Tornado Hit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Neighbors Concerned About Late Emergency Alert After Tornado Hits

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BAY CITY, Md. - Paula Stouten's home looks pristine - that's because she was lucky.

Back when an EF-2 tornado plowed through the neighborhood, her trampoline was the only thing damaged - better that than her family.

"I woke my husband up and we ran down to our basement bathroom because I was like, 'This is more than a storm,'" Stouten said.

She says it was a whole five minutes after the tornado hit when an alert popped up on her phone.

"The warning didn't come until after and there's apparently some signs that something was happening and nothing was sent out early enough," Stouten said.

At a town hall meeting this week, neighbors demanded answers.

The National Weather Service - responsible for sending out the alert - says timing was the main issue.

"It's a very tight warning to get that warning out for this part of the country," said Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Gaines says the tornado likely hit homes within seconds, but took minutes for the agency to issue a warning.

"A lot of times it's a bang bang when a warning goes out at the same time we're seeing the radar," Gaines said.

The National Weather Service says they saw signs of a potential tornado, but with nothing confirmed touching the ground, chose not to issue the alert until later.

With lives at stake - stouten says that hestitation is inexcusable.

"If there's like something possibly forming, like, send out a warning," Stouten said.

The National Weather Service says they'll be assessing whether more could have been done.

Now, when it comes to storms, stouten says she isn't playing around .

"I do go down to the basement just as a precaution just because they've been so intense lately," Stouten said.

A county official says they're still waiting on information from the National Weather Service to figure out what happened with the emergency alerts the day the tornado hit.


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