ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- On the evening of March 19, 2018, a tornado touched down west of U.S. Highway 431, north of Wellington, where it rapidly intensified and widened.What happened next is etched in the memories of Jacksonville residents.That tornado entered Jacksonville as an EF3, with winds around 140 mph.It destroyed most of the roof and the top floor of two buildings in an apartment complex.It affected the entire campus of Jacksonville State University.It snapped or uprooted countless trees along U.S. Highway 431 and AL Highway 204.Other buildings and structures were severely damaged.An electrical transmission tower line was toppled.Scores of homes sustained major damage and some became uninhabitable.The winds increased to 150 mph and hay bales estimated to weigh nearly 800 pounds each were thrown up to 300 yards.On average, central Alabama, where Calhoun County is located, has approximately 33 tornadoes each year.In 2019, there were 51.Although we cannot prevent bad weather from occurring, we can prepare for the inevitable in order to reduce death and suffering.What Jacksonville and the surrounding communities experienced in March 2018 may happen again. Tornadoes are occurring more frequently than they did years ago, but more people are surviving because of preparedness.Here are some tips to follow:MAKE A PLAN• Know where to shelter at home and at work. If you don't know where your shelter location is at work, ask. Supervisors should have a list of all shelters and storm refuge areas. That same list is sent quarterly via email to all users. TRACKS publishes the list twice a year and the list may also be viewed on LAN.• Just like you do fire drills, do a shelter-in-place drill before severe weather season begins.• Know where to meet after the event ends and account for everybody.• Don't' forget your pets (some shelters do not allow pets, only service animals).BUILD A KIT• Store enough provisions for three days (72 hours) if you are stranded and cannot evacuate.• Download a list of items to include from• Remember medicines for family members with special needs.BE INFORMED• Tune in to local radio and television stations.• Pay attention to wireless Emergency Alerts used by the National Weather Service, Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the President. Check with your cell phone service provider to see if you should receive these alerts. There is no subscription or charge for the messages.• To receive weather alerts on your cell phones, sign up at or text CALHOUNEMA to 888777.• To search for open shelters, text SHELTER and the zip code to 43362. (Ex: Shelter 01234)• Post local Police, Fire, EMS and Hospital phone numbers on your refrigerator.• Sign up for the Alert! system on your computer at work or the Army Disaster Personnel Accounting & Assessment System website at: more information, visit