Friday ends with preparation, vigilance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Friday ends with preparation, vigilance

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 22, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany was spared much of the storm Friday, but Public Works and Emergency crews are not yet letting down their guard.  They've been told by the National Weather Service that Albany could see more rain showers and potentially more problems Saturday.

Public Works supervisors were sent home early to rest up.  They'll be keeping a close eye on the winds and the rain and could be back out on the streets as early as midnight if Albany gets more weather.

As winds increased slightly and rain fell in Albany, Public Works crews made more sandbags available for residents hoping to head off trouble before it strikes. 

"I would advise people to only get them if they routinely flood when we have a couple inches of rain or if water gets into their business or in their house," says Phil Roberson, Albany Public Works Director.

The storm they've been preparing for all week is finally here.  Now, storm ponds are under watchful eyes. "We've got folks strategically located monitoring those pond so if we have a problem they're on top of it."

In the 911 center extra dispatchers were called to duty, to handle additional calls. "We've gone ahead and authorized for overtime and to bring in additional dispatchers for the 911 center in case there's reports of limbs down on power lines or streets that are flooded," said Deputy EMA Director Jim Vaught.    

While today seemed calm, the worst may still be to come, but if problems are reported early, Albany expect to weather the storm with little trouble.

"If we continue to have these feeder bands come over and be intermittent like it has then it shouldn't bee too much of a problem," Roberson said.

About a thousand sand bags are available for residents if they need them.  You can pick them up under the Jefferson Street Bridge along Hodges Avenue if you think rainwater might cause you trouble. 

They're keeping a watchful eye on any trouble areas and want residents to call in concerns no matter how small to keep them from creating a bigger problem. 

"If the weather gets rough and you see the pond rising and you want to call public works please don't hesitate to do so, but just be aware we are monitoring and keeping an eye on them," said Roberson.

The 911 Center added four dispatchers to handle what was expected to be higher call volumes.  Volunteer firefighters were also put on standby, but so far haven't been needed.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency Region two office says the only trouble they're seen in the region today were trees down in Brooks and Clinch Counties.

Emergency responders here in Dougherty County believe their advance preparations for the storm should help them sail through without trouble.  Extra precautions are still being taken however and this afternoon Crisp County Power decided to lower Lake Blackshear two inches.  They say that should help them keep up with the rain.

Volunteer Albany firefighters have also been organized in advance of the weekend and are expected to be called out Saturday if rain showers or winds intensify in Albany.

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