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Local officials prep for hurricane conditions, coastal evacuees


In response to Hurricane Matthew’s anticipated landfall and current tracking of the storm, City of Douglas officials are urging residents to prepare for this incoming storm and the influx of evacuees as soon as possible.  Evacuees will have effects on our local shelters, gas supply, traffic, and health care agencies.

In all, thousands of people have been ordered or urged to leave their homes in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

“Douglas and Coffee County are expected to receive several hundred evacuees as soon as today, and we need to support them and make sure they are safe as well as making sure our local citizens are safe,” says City Manager Terrell Jacobs.  “Please welcome and be hospitable to these folks as they enter our city as they do not know what they may be faced with when they return to their homes in Coastal Georgia and Florida.”

The Red Cross, Coffee County Emergency Management, and City of Douglas have set up local shelters to receive displaced evacuees and citizens.  The following shelters in Douglas will open in the following order:  

1.  Central Square Gymnasium located at 200 S. Madison Avenue at 6 p.m.
2.  First Baptist Church located at 124 N. Gaskin Avenue.  
3.  Young’s Chapel Baptist Church located at 710 Shirley Avenue.

Central Square Gymnasium “A” (old Bryan Street gym) will open first today, Thursday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. until capacity is reached.  First Baptist Church will open when Central Square is full and Young’s Chapel will open once First Baptist Church has reached its capacity.  These shelters will open in order to receive those in need of safe shelter. 

Only service animals will be allowed to stay in a shelter with their owner. Persons needing animal shelter should contact local veterinarian offices or pet boarding facilities.

Campers/RVs will be routed to JC Adams Municipal Park.  Campers/RVs should be completely self-contained with a generator for electricity.  Another location for campers/RVs or persons hauling large animals such as horses will be the South Georgia Youth Park Wiregrass Arena located in Nicholls. 

Locally, Douglas should expect the possibility of two to five inches of rain, winds in excess of 25 to 40 miles per hour, rainfall and flooding in low areas, and possible electrical outages due to winds. The storm may impact Douglas as early as late Friday afternoon. 

Citizens are encouraged to stay at home due to the excess traffic that is expected. Areas in Douglas that are low lying and are normally prone to flooding should prepare for flooding that may occur from excess water from rivers. Be mindful and watch for emergency responders who are out during this time trying to keep others safe.  Move or secure trash cans, lawn furniture, hanging plants or anything that can be picked up by the wind.

Make sure you have emergency supplies such as an emergency preparedness kit, first aid kit, food and non-perishables, and a reliable source of weather information. Churches wishing to donate food to the Ministerial Association for the shelter should contact Pastor Mary Ann Braswell at 912-383-9943 or 706-699-3537. Persons who wish to volunteer their time at a Red Cross Shelter should contact Larry Nesmith at 912-393-4051.

For all NON-EMERGENCY related issues such as power outages, downed power lines, water over the roadway or downed trees, contact the Customer Care Center by dialing 311 or 912-384-3302.  For life threatening emergencies, call 911.

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