Albany officials anticipate Fay's rain - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany officials anticipate Fay's rain

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Fire chief and EMA Director James Carswell Fire chief and EMA Director James Carswell
Deputy EMA chief Jim Vaught Deputy EMA chief Jim Vaught

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 20, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Street flooding is a definite possibility in south Georgia offer the next few days.

In Albany, copper thieves may hurt the city's effort to deal with storm water. Crooks are taking copper wire that could keep those stations up and running.

Public Works has been busier than a swarm of bees getting ready for this storm. They've been clearing sewer drains and checking storm station like these in advance of rain showers that could shift these stations into overdrive. In their preparations they discovered a serious problem that could cause flooding problems instead of clearing them away.

Albany Public Works is ready for Fay. They cleared troublesome sewer lines and made sure storm stations are ready to deal with whatever rainfall Fay send our way, but copper thieves could derail those preparations. If the storm knocks out the power these stations rely on generators to keep them going. Thieves have been stealing the connections to make those generators work.

"We have back up generators that they steal the copper wire out of when we come to the station with a power outage to keep the pumps going and we try to get the generator going and the cable's been stolen it's very frustrating for us," says Albany Public Works Director Phil Roberson.

A similar station near Henderson gym was also targeted. It could cause neighborhoods to flood if Fay dumps more rain on Albany than expected.

"You've now got a situation where you can't even deal with the normal rainfall and if you add tropical storm systems into that then you've got localized flooding that you could have prevented had the station been on," says Roberson.

If it becomes a problem, the Albany-Dougherty Emergency Operations Center is prepared to deal with it. Today, workers checked the center's 26 computers to make sure they're functioning properly.

"We went over this morning again with our information technology department and tested each one of the pieces of equipment to make sure it's up and operating as it should be," says Deputy EMA Director Jim Vaught.

Emergency Management officials continue to talk with state and weather experts twice a day, but still say it's anyone's guess what Fay will bring.

"Every time we look at the weather map it changes so we keep doing these conference calls with the National Weather Service and the state operations center and each time we've met the track changes a little bit," Vaught said.

Public Works wants those living near these storm stations across town to be vigilant. They say if you see anyone suspicious, someone who doesn't have a public works or water gas and light sticker on their vehicle near these station to call police, or question them about what they might be doing. They want to make sure there are no problems with these station when Fay hits as early as this weekend.

Emergency officials say their next update on how Fay might affect south Georgia will come Thursday morning.

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