Bilingual Storm Alerts


Isis Palomino, South Oklahoma City



Context: Palomino believes many Spanish speakers do not get adequate alerts to tornadoes and severe storms in their language. The community also would feel safer if people knew what steps to take during severe weather. Many low-income Hispanic residents live in rented apartments or homes, which often don’t have underground shelters. Palomino’s concern especially resonates in south Oklahoma City, which has large pockets of residents who speak only Spanish.


Mike Saenz, Chief Meteorologist, Acción Oklahoma


Context: Saenz says during a tornado watch the station alerts communities across the state on how to prepare. Meteorologists immediately go on air during a tornado watch and simulcast on television and radio. If station workers need to seek shelter, they retreat to a “safe zone” in the basement with the radio and continue broadcasting.

A Deeper Look:

Language Barriers

This map shows the percentage of non-English speakers in Oklahoma City by census tract. Click on a tract to see the information.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey.