Severe-weather help on the way

Some of Newton's oldest and youngest residents will soon have advanced warnings of oncoming severe weather.

Newton Police Department (NPD) recently received a $1,000 grant from Target Corp. to purchase weather alert radios. The department decided to apply for the grant after a tornado ripped through Claremont in October 2010 and strong storms hit the area in summer 2011, said NPD Capt. Tim Hayes.

"We think, given past situations and the tendency of severe weather in this area, that this will greatly benefit our citizens," Hayes said.

NPD maintains a list of 17 senior adults it monitors daily with phone calls and visits, and all of those residents will receive weather radios.

"The main reason is they do not have immediate family or any family, so they don't have any people to notify them when there's potential for bad weather," Hayes said.

"When we applied for the grant, we had them in mind with all the bad storms that have come through the area. The radios are programmed to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather channels. They will be able to monitor the local area."

In addition to severe weather, the radios will help senior adults monitor oncoming snow, ice and cold weather, said Newton City Manager Todd Clark.

"We hope that it's going to provide an extra level of protection for our senior adults," Clark said. "That's the intent. That way they could make arrangements to get their medicine filled or arrange transportation if needed. We believe it will be a great asset for our senior adults."

NPD also hopes to provide weather radios to all the schools in Newton.

"And there may be some extra (radios) after that," Hayes said. "We'll just have to see how far the money goes."

Target, which opened a distribution center near N.C. 10 and U.S. 321 in 2009, has provided four grants to NPD projects in recent years, including money for hand sanitizer for area schools, child identification kits and laser speed-measurement devices.

"We've had a good relationship with Target since they've been in the city," Hayes said.

"Any time we have an opportunity to get together with Target for a community support event, we do that."