Severe weather warning to be more specific - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Severe weather warning to be more specific

January 18, 2007

Colquitt County-  Expect more specific warnings about severe weather. The National Weather Service will do away with their countywide severe weather warnings and will issue more targeted warnings using highways or other well known landmarks. They say it will save lives when bad weather hits.

Until now, the National Weather Service issued severe weather warnings for entire counties, like Colquitt. Under the new warning system, they'll get more specific, narrowing severe weather to areas like Jernigan's Restaurant just outside Norman Park or along Highway 33 near Berlin. For people near Norman Park where a tornado struck a year ago, this new system is welcome news.

No one better knows the importance of a storm warning than Dutch Hall. With little warning last year, he was trapped inside his home when a tornado tore through Colquitt County.

"The door was jammed down and wouldn't open, the window was back behind me here and it wouldn't raise and I just took a ball bat and knocked it out and slid out into the carport," said Dutch Hall, Storm victim.

Not far from Hall's collapsed home, it was a phone call that saved Henry Jernigan at his restaurant.

"We didn't get any warning on that one, somebody called us and said to be on the lookout, it was at the door then, by the time I could get to the door," said Henry Jernigan, owner of Jernigan's Seafood, Steaks, and BBQ.

Both men agree more specific warning that may have pin-pointed their road or another landmark other than Norman Park more than five miles away have helped them prepare.

"Yes ma'am I'd have got out and looked around at least and I could have went away from it and I could have seen it," said Hall.

Both have now rebuilt, Jernigan's repaired its roof and added a new deck, Hall has a brand new house. Both hope they'll never have to weather another storm like last year, but more specific warnings could make them better prepared.

"I think it would help a lot if people knows its coming then they could get prepared like we weren't prepared we were just lucky, that we didn't get blown away," said Jernigan.

The National Weather Service said the new warnings will be especially helpful in states like Georgia which tend to have larger counties. The new severe weather warnings are expected to take affect in October.

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