Local communities get ready for whatever Ian may bring
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As Hurricane Ian makes its way near the CSRA, counties are getting ready for the storm.
Ian carved a path of destruction across Florida, trapping people in flooded homes and knocking out power to 2.5 million people. Although we’re not going to feel the full effects of Ian after it comes ashore again near Charleston on Friday, there will be some impacts in the CSRA in the form of rain and wind.
As officials continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Ian, the public is encouraged to sign up for Augusta’s weather alert system here: https://member.everbridge.net/1569557143617555/login.
- Ga., S.C. agencies poised to respond to storm’s threats
- More local schools cancel classes as Ian approaches
- Be prepared for disasters big and small, Georgians urged
- In CSRA, road crews, utilities ready for Ian when it gets here
Here’s a look at some preparations across the CSRA:
Daniel Field Airport has seen evacuees move through the area to make a short stop as they head farther away from the hurricane. The airport manager says they can stay as long as they want for free, hoping the open arms can make their situation better.
Becky Shaly said: “Anybody that’s coming into Augusta, hoping this is going to have a positive impact on people that are coming in even an unfortunate situation there. Hopefully, they’ll walk away with a positive feel about the city and this airport.”
She says that the airport has many different things in order to keep everything safe even if things take a turn.
Columbia County Emergency Management Director Shawn Granato says to be prepared and stay prepared year-round.
“Preparation and this is something people get overwhelmed with, but I want people to understand that you can do this year-round, it doesn’t have to be when a hurricane is coming,” he said.
Granato says that it doesn’t take a lot of money to have important emergency equipment like flashlights, radios, long-term food, and water.
“It doesn’t take a lot. Go to the store and buy one extra can or one extra set of water so you always have a fresh supply,” he said.
Right now, Columbia County believes there’s no need to set up shelters.
“If something does take a turn, and we have a lot of Columbia County residents without power, then we will consider opening up a shelter on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Officials tell us crews are ready to jump into action for any storm damage or power outages.
“We’ve been encouraging our residents and businesses to sign up for code red alerts. We use code red to send out specific information if needed. We record the messages, or we can send out texts. It is very helpful. If you have power outages and if people are using cellphones to communicate during those types of events, they can use their vehicle charger. Keep your phone charged, and it keeps us in communication with the public,” said Amylia Lester, Burke County Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.
They say it’s better to over prepared than underprepared.
“We are prepared. We’ve learned that it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared,” she said. “In past storms, we’ve had a lot of trees down. Being a big rural county with a lot of dirt roads that can cause issues. Roadway clearing can be a big deal.”
Lester suggests if you have outside objects, make sure they are secure. You never know how strong the wind might be.
“A lot of people that have well water could have some water issues, so we encourage people to have clean drinking water,” said Lester.
While they can’t make final decisions yet, county officials are checking generators and fuel to prepare for the storm. High school games have been moved to different dates. A webinar will take place at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to help with final decisions.
Bamberg County students will be released at 11 a.m. Thursday, and Friday will be an eLearning day for all students and employees. All after-school programs are canceled for Thursday and Friday. All athletic events previously planned for Thursday or Friday have either been rescheduled or canceled.
Barnwell County schools will be closed on Friday. A state call is set for 12 p.m. Wednesday to help the county make final decisions on preparation. Final decisions should come on Thursday.
Allendale officials are closely monitoring the state. A state call is set for 12 p.m. Wednesday. Officials will make plans based off the information in the call.
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