The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has opened a disaster response center in Mobile.
Grand opening was Monday for the 15,200-square foot facility. The facility will serve as the central coordination point for state, federal and local officials during a disaster or preparation for one.
Officials said the new center was built to withstand severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. The facility includes an interior tornado shelter.
The opening Monday was attended by members of Congress and federal, state and local emergency responders.
Assistant NOAA Administrator David Kennedy said services the agency offers to the Gulf region range from forecasting the paths of hurricanes to restoring the environment after oil spills.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.