South Georgia braces for Hurricane Frances - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia braces for Hurricane Frances

September 5, 2004

Tifton-- For the past few days retailers say people have been stocking up on supplies. Lowe's home improvement store is bustling with customers.

"People are buying heavily today. They have been pretty much since about Thursday," says store manager George Davis.

But it's not paint and plywood they're stocking up on. "Batteries, gas cans, water, tarps, things that they're going to need to be prepared for when they go home to repair damages etc.," Davis says.

Customers are preparing to tackle whatever Frances has left for South Georgia, and they're right in line with Florida evacuees.

"I just heard that a lot of the shingles in my neighborhood are all ripped up. Tons of branches are down, so that's why I got the chainsaw to get it ready and get that packed up so when we get down there we're ready to go," Paul Fiore says.

Fiore's is ready to get back to his Melbourne home. "I'm going to try to do a stealth mission. I'm going to try to get out of here about one to two in the morning to try to dodge everybody while they're sleeping hopefully. Hopefully save a couple hours getting home," he says.

And buying early will hopefully save him the headache of trying to search for supplies he may not be able to find back home. Lowes managers say they've been receiving new shipments daily to make sure they have enough supplies.

Evacuees in South Georgia say they're getting a little tired of waiting for Frances to make her exit. Jerry Justice, of Tampa, has been camped out in Tifton's Walmart parking lot since Friday. His temporary neighbor Jim Councilman has been there since Thursday.

Councilman's Punta Gorda summer home was severely damaged by Charley. They say their trying to keep busy by cleaning their RVs and watching the news. "I want to get back and try to finish up what I was doing before this next one gets here," says Councilman.

"I'm ready to go, but when God says it's time to go, I'll go," laughs Jerry Justice.

The evacuees say getting to know each other has also helped them pass the time.

Meanwhile, Moody Air Force Base is bracing for high winds and heavy rain. The base has canceled all flying operations and are evacuating all aircraft to airfields out of the storm's path.

posted at 3:15PM by dave.miller@walb.com