Mayor William Bell, city officials give briefing on Tropical Storm Irma

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham city officials gathered in the EMA area of City Hall to give a briefing on Tropical Storm Irma.

Mayor William Bell, Director Don Lupo and City of Birmingham Police, Fire and Public Works personnel, and the Jefferson County EMA were in attendance at the briefing.

Mayor Bell explained that Birmingham is the third tier in Alabama for housing evacuees in shelters. The city of Mobile is first and once their shelter reaches two-thirds capacity, a shelter in Montgomery will open. Once Montgomery’s shelter reaches two-thirds capacity, Birmingham’s shelter will be activated. Bell says the city has designated Bill-Harris Arena as the shelter location for evacuees.

Boutwell Auditorium is currently available for both evacuees and local residents who need shelter. Residents looking to drop off donations can do so at Boutwell.

Jefferson County EMA Director Jim Coker says their number one concern for Birmingham is flooding. Coker and Mayor Bell both stressed avoiding driving through standing water. There is also a concern for trees coming down and power outages.

Mayor Bell also announced that City Hall will close at 11 a.m. Monday morning. Birmingham Municipal Courts will reopen on Wednesday morning.

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