Advance warning saves lives in weekend tornado - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Advance warning saves lives in weekend tornado

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January 15, 2006

Colquitt County- Every second counts when a dangerous storm is closing in. Fire fighters were ready when an apparent tornado ranging between an F-1 and F-2 touched down in Colquitt County on Friday.

An emergency radio warned, "Be advised, we have a touchdown of a funnel cloud on Perry Batts heading for your territory." Jesse Pope is a volunteer firefighter. He had his radio along with his video camera outside Friday afternoon and caught the twister as it touched down in Colquitt County.

"The National Weather Service had contacted 911 and they notified us by pager and we were en route in the area, we were actually out looking for the storm," said Chris Wainwright, Norman Park Asst. Fire Chief.

Simple advance warning is said to have saved many lives.

"Advance warning would be a great benefit for so many people, they need to keep in touch with the radio, weather radio, or the television," said Jesse Pope, Volunteer Firefighter.

"It definitely saved lives, it helped our response time by getting in early," said Wainwright.

Because they were ready, Firefighters were able to quickly deal with downed lines, trees, and damaged homes during daylight hours. They hope after seeing the destruction more people will invest in a weather radio.

"Oh absolutely, definitely so, and if you do get them and you need help programing them, you can contact, a volunteer fireman can probably head you in the right direction," said Wainwright.

This time being prepared, may have spared lives. Several people suffered minor cuts and scratches, but no one was killed in what is considered a pretty powerful storm by those who witnessed it.

"When you see all the damage around, going around and seeing what houses were hit yeah you are surprised that more people weren't hurt," said Pope.

A NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. You can log on to our Website and click on weather for a complete list of weather alert frequencies to program your weather radio.

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