City urges preparedness as Hurricane Hermine approaches south Georgia
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In response to Hurricane Hermine’s anticipated landfall and current tracking of the storm, City of Douglas officials urge all citizens to act early and to prepare for the possibility of 8-12 inches of rain, winds in excess of 60+ miles per hour, possible tornado activity, heavy rainfall & flooding in low areas, and electrical outages.
Governor Deal has issued a State of Emergency for 56 counties, including Coffee County, and the local Emergency Management Agency has issued a Local Declaration of Emergency. The storm may impact Douglas as early as 6 p.m. Thursday afternoon with the heaviest winds, flooding, and possible tornado activity occurring between the hours of midnight and noon on Friday.
Citizens should take precautions and prepare for this incoming storm as soon as possible.
The Red Cross, Coffee County Emergency Management, and City of Douglas have set up local shelters to receive displaced citizens. The following shelters in Douglas will open in the following order:
1. Central Square Gymnasium, located at 200 S. Madison Avenue
2. Young’s Chapel Baptist Church, located at 710 Shirley Avenue.
3. First Baptist Church, located at 124 N. Gaskin Avenue
Central Square Gymnasium will open first at 6 p.m. until capacity is reached. Young’s Chapel Baptist Church will open when Central Square is full, and First Baptist Church will open once Young’s Chapel has reached its capacity. These shelters will open in order to receive those in need of safe shelter.
Areas in Douglas that are low lying and need to request sandbags should dial 311 or 912-384-3302 to check availability of sandbags.
During this time, traffic lights may go out. If a citizen encounters a traffic light that is not working, and a police officer is not directing traffic, please use caution to proceed. Please be aware of your surroundings. Be mindful and watch for emergency responders who are out during the storm trying to keep others safe.
If you encounter a downed powerline, assume it is still “live” and DO NOT touch or try to move it. In case of a power outage, gas up all vehicles and go to the ATM and get some cash before the storm hits.
“Douglas and Coffee County is expected to receive severe and damaging weather due to Hurricane Hermine. We are already monitoring areas in Douglas that we know have issues when torrential rains occur,” says City Manager Terrell Jacobs. “If you are in low laying areas or mobile homes, please seek shelter before tonight and prepare for the worst. Please know that city crews will be working around the clock to restore any electrical outages as they occur, however, crews will not be sent out until life threatening winds have passed.”
Prepare for the storm and high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile. Watch for tornado signs such as dark or greenish clouds, funnel cloud, large hail, and a roaring noise (often referred as a traveling train noise).
Prepare an emergency kit that should include; water (3 day supply per person), food (3 day supply per person) flashlight, batteries, first aid kits, medications (7 day supply per person), multi-purpose tool, sanitation/personal hygiene items, cell phone with charger, family/emergency contacts, extra cash, blankets, map, baby supplies, pet supplies, tool/supplies for securing your home, extra clothing, rain gear, insect repellant and sunscreen, and camera for photos of damage.
Make sure you have emergency supplies such as first aid kits, food and non-perishables, emergency equipment such as generators or flashlights/batteries, water for drinking and cooking, and charge your mobile phone or laptop. Prepare for the storm by acquiring a reliable source of weather information which can be a weather radio, cell phone alerts, radio or television. Be prepared for power outages due to heavy winds blowing trees and limbs on powerlines.
If you do not have to be out in the extreme weather conditions, avoid traveling. If you are on the road, be especially careful of bridges and areas that water is over the road. DO NOT attempt to drive your vehicle through water that is across a roadway, turn around or seek another route to your destination. Stay away from floodwaters. Be especially cautious at night when you cannot see flood danger.
Do not allow children to play in flood water due to contamination or the unknown depth of the flood water. If flood waters are rising, seek higher ground. Tornado warnings are expected to be for our area which means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately to a basement, storm cellar, or windowless interior room.
Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or high winds. Do not seek shelter in an interior room or bathroom in a mobile home. Evacuate the mobile home and seek shelter in the nearest, sturdiest building or house. If you are caught outside, immediately seek shelter or get into a vehicle, lock your seatbelt and try to drive to a safe location.
Most of all, use good judgement, stay out of the weather, and stay indoors during this time. For all NON-EMERGENCY related issues such as power outages, downed power lines, water over the road way or downed trees, contact the Customer Care Center by dialing 311 or 912-384-3302.
For life threatening emergencies, call 911.