July 7, 2005 Albany- Right now, Dennis is a category II hurricane, but it's expected to get stronger. Albany Public Works and Emergency Management officials are waiting to hear from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee and GEMA tomorrow afternoon to decide how South Georgia needs to prepare for the hurricane.
As Hurricane Dennis menaces the Caribbean, south Georgia Emergency Management officials are preparing to handle whatever the storm blow our way. "We're experiencing something we've never had before which is this number of hurricanes and storms this early in the season," says Albany Public Works Director Phil Roberson.
Roberson will take a conference call at 2:00 Friday afternoon with GEMA and the National Weather Service. "We stay in constant contact with all those agencies because they give us the latest. So we can keep our folks up to speed on what they need to do to prepare for whatever contingency is necessary," he says.
But Albany public works crews aren't waiting to start preparing for heavy rain and strong winds. "We make sure all the storm ponds are as low as they can possibly be," Roberson said. "We check out all of our storm stations to make sure the pumps are operating efficiently. We also try to keep the streets cleaner, working longer hours to keep the trash and debris out of the storm system."
Roberson say he'll wait a few days before taking more costly precautions. "We're going to make some of our more serious decisions about requiring additional pumps, working over-time - the things that actually cost us money - until we see which direction this hurricane is taking."
So for now, all eyes are on the cloudy skies as south Georgia gets ready for what may be a long, very long tropical storm season.
Georgia Power is also on stand-by. Officials say once the storm gets closer to this area, they will decided where to send extra crews.