Preparing for an Emergency - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Preparing for an Emergency

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  While the tropical season has gotten off to a slow start, things have begun to heat up in recent weeks. It only takes one storm hitting the area to cause a lot of damage. And it doesn't even have to be a hurricane, as we found out last year with Tropical Storm Fay.

When the storm clouds gather, emergency managers take notice. Right now, they're watching Tropical Storm Erica.

"We have to watch it and we have news briefings when the National Weather Service contacts us," said Worth County EMA Director Chief Lyndel Ford.  

While we haven't seen any direct effects from tropical storms or hurricanes, we did get a close brush from Tropical Storm Claudette a few weeks ago.

"We had a lot of lightning strikes going on. We had some lightning damage at the 911 Center," said Ford.

Land falling tropical storms can have devastating effects here, not so much from the winds but the rains. A lesson that South Georgians learned back in 1994.

"Up at Lake Blackshear when the dam burst and all the water went toward Albany. But we had a lot of homes in the Warwick area that got flooded also."

But emergency managers want to remind people in our area that hurricane season isn't the only time to be prepared. Back in March, heavy rains caused flooding throughout the area.

"It flooded out a lot of homes in the south end, part of the city. And then a lot of road damage as far as washing culverts out and washing our dirt roads away."

And of course, Worth County gets plenty of other types of severe weather as well.  "If it comes through Mitchell County, it looks like it's going to hit us.

With this month being so busy, September has also been declared to be National Emergency Preparedness Month in Georgia. But no matter when the severe weather occurs, Chief Ford says that there are things that you should always have around in case of an emergency.

"Canned supplies and bottled water and blankets. Some flashlights and batteries," Ford said.

It's inevitable that severe weather will occur again. And when it does, you can be sure that emergency managers throughout South Georgia will be working hard to keep you safe.

And Chief Ford also wanted to remind people to get an all hazards radio. They're not too expensive and they could save your life if a storm or other natural disaster hits while you're asleep.

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