Mitchell Co. especially alert to bad weather - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell Co. especially alert to bad weather

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July 7, 2005

Mitchell County-- South Georgians in Camilla will be watching the path of Hurricane Dennis closely, especially those who live in the area now known as tornado alley. They've been hit hard by two deadly tornadoes in the past five years.

One resident who vows to pack her bags for good if Dennis brings another storm her way.

It's been more than two years, but Vennita Reese will never forget the day a tornado destroyed her neighborhood. "And the wind was so strong the only thing I could do was just call Jesus. We got in the hallway and piled up in the hallway and the tornado came and it hit. We could hear it just shaking the house. It was just shaking, shaking, shaking," says Reese.

The March 2003 storm shook her Flamingo Drive home and completely wiped out her neighbors. "We came outside and it was just a tragedy. When I saw that house, I thought those people over there were dead," she said.

Reese's was just one of hundreds of homes that were damaged or destroyed. It was the second deadly tornado to rip through the area, and years later signs of the storm still remain. "That's why I'm so afraid every time bad weather comes through. When I turn on the TV and look to see that there's a thunderstorm watch or a tornado watch, I'm up. I'm ready to go," she says.

Reese took pictures of the damage to her home, but she doesn't need them to remind her of how deadly they can be, neither do her neighbors. She says they get together regularly to share their stories, and even check on each other anytime there is severe weather.

Even though she has the support of her neighbors, the thought of Hurricane Dennis bringing severe weather her way makes Reese uneasy. "I just pray to God that it doesn't hit because whatever is meant for the Lord to do is going to happen. Just pray and keep the faith," says Reese.

Mitchell County EMA director Ann Lamb reminds everyone to pay close attention to weather reports and keep a close watch on the path Dennis. She also encourages everyone to make sure they have weather radio and evacuation plan just in case.

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