Emergency officials reflect on 2011 Tornado outbreak

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – Ten years after the Chattanooga and North Georgia region were devastated by one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in modern history, officials are reflecting on what’s changed since the tragedy.

Catoosa County PIO John Pless says that the devastation caused by the EF4 tornado resulted in damage to over 150 homes, causing permanent physical changes.

“The landscape was changed in certain areas where trees were just taken out, and it just changed the look of these areas,” says Pless.

He says the Super Outbreak also taught a valuable lesson on the importance of emergency preparedness.

“It was kind of an anecdotal thought here in this whole area around Chattanooga and North Georgia, that tornadoes are really not a big problem here because of our geography.”

Now, residents can sign up for Everbirdge Advanced Warning system to receive important weather updates right to their phone.

“Anybody can go on the catoosacounty.com website and sign up for Everbridge warnings, and they’ll get a text message to their phone whenever there’s a tornado warning or a flood warning or anything like that. Or anything else in the community that people need to be involved with.”

In Hamilton County, Amy Maxwell says a similar alert system exists, and is regularly used today.

“If we have either a potential tornado warning or if we have a touchdown in Hamilton County, we are able to send out that notification through an iPause message, which we actually did several weeks ago,” says Maxwell.

She says that the outbreak serves as a reminder that residents should always have an alert system in place.

“A lot of people are taking emergency preparedness very seriously, especially since it’s affected our area a lot within the last 10 to 15 years.”

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