Burkburnett: Small City with Big Weather Resources

With this severe weather hitting Texoma Monday, cities across the area used their resources to keep residents safe. In Burkburnett this job comes easy. In 2001 the city was approved as a "Storm Ready Community" and for a decade officials have used that to their advantage.

With their experience and equipment Burk is able to maintain a formal weather plan and thoroughly communicate to citizens and the national weather service stationed in Norman. And it's all located in the Burk Police Department.

For a small city, inside a small room, lies some big resources.

"It's an invaluable service not only to Burkburnett but to Wichita County," said Detective Ed Stahr who also serves as the emergency management coordinator.

In the room several computer screens each filled with weather patterns is monitored closely by Stahr and Officer Jonny Zellner.

"As you can see there are five or six things going on right now and I help him in whatever he needs," said Zellner.

Over the past decade the department has accumulated their equipment and they put it to use Monday where non-stop radio action and tornado formations kept them busy.

"We live in the area in North Texas where we do see severe weather from time to time and so the more that we can do the better prepared we can be," said Stahr.

Being a storm ready city requires a 24-hour emergency operations center along with several other demands but that's not all they offer.

"We have tornado sirens we also have our code red that we utilize and if need be the guys go out and they go door to door."

Both men have received special training in Norman, Oklahoma. Monday they were not only serving as officers to the city of Burkburnett but storm spotters.

Burk was the fourth Texas city to be recognized as an official storm ready community in 2001. Burk has been joined by Bowie which received its certification just last week.

If you could like more information on storm ready communities or how to be one, click here.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.