Troup County should expect several inches of rain, heavy gusts of wind
Published 4:36 pm Friday, September 8, 2017
As Hurricane Irma makes its way toward Florida, Troup County is preparing for whatever comes its way.
As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Peachtree City said the eye of the storm was still expected to steer far east of Troup County. However, Troup County will still be in the path of the tropical storm conditions that surround the hurricane as it moves north.
“We are expecting a turn to the north as it (Hurricane Irma) gets to about Miami or maybe the Keys and then move up through Florida and then through Georgia,” said Keith Stellman, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. “It looks like early Monday morning sometime it (Hurricane Irma) will be entering Georgia from the south, and then moving up across the state on Monday.”
Hurricanes typically begin to lose strength as soon as they come over land since they pull derive much of their power from the ocean. As of Friday afternoon, however Stellman said that Troup County could still expect to see gusts of wind at 40 to 50 miles per hour and 3 to 4 inches of rain.
“For the area in Troup County and West Central Georgia, we’ll start to see rain squalls and rain bands moving in during the day on Monday,” Stellman said. “The wind speeds would be increasing during the day Monday as the storm moves in. Now, it will obviously be much weaker by the time it gets here, but there will still be rain bands. There still will be a lot of wind associated with the storm as it moves across the state Monday, Monday night and into Tuesday.”
The eventual path of the hurricane is still uncertain, but Troup County residents are encouraged to be ready just in case the weather does get worse than expected in the county.
“If you are on the road, do not drive through flood waters,” Fire Chief Dennis Knight said. “Do not drive through any water that you cannot actually see the surface of the road because you don’t really know the condition of the road beneath the surface of the water. It could have washed the pavement away, and you would not know it until you drive through it.”
Both the Troup County Fire Department and the University of Georgia Extension Office advise residents to avoid any unnecessary travel during any weather events.
“Use your best judgement,” said Brian Maddy, ANR County Extension Agent. “If the winds are too strong, the water and the rain is coming down too heavy, and you have children, with this type of thing don’t let them go outside. Use your better judgement.”
Residents are also encouraged to have a “ready kit” containing three days’ worth of non-perishable food, like canned goods, bottled water, medications, flashlights and a weather radio on hand in the event that electricity goes out for any period of time.
“Make sure that you have plenty of drinking water in case you are on a well or electricity goes out,” Maddy said. “Make sure that you have stored water that you can flush toilets with. Make sure to batten down the hatches. Make sure all the windows are closed with maybe the exception of one. You may have to relieve pressure on the inside of a house if a tornado is spawned by the hurricane, but lock everything down. Pick up anything in the yard that could be blown around, because it could become a deadly missile.”
Maddy recommended making sure car fuel tanks are full, and checking generators to make sure they are functioning, just in case. Any old fuel that has been sitting in the tank of a generator for an extended period should be removed and replaced with new fuel before a generator is used. The Troup County Fire Department discourages the use of candles and open flames as a means of lighting a home, but reminds residents that one of the most important actions they can take is to stay informed.
“After that, the biggest thing is to stay informed,” Knight said. “They need to make sure they know what the weather is expected to do at their location. Watch the news. Listen to the radio. I encourage everyone to have a weather radio, so that they can stay informed that way also.”
Troup County has an emergency notification system called CodeRed that residents can sign up for by visiting Troupcountyga.org, then clicking on the CodeRed icon and following the instructions on the screen. In the event that phone lines go down though, Knight encourages families to have a communication plan ready if the family is separated during a storm.
“Sometimes with localized (weather) events, the (phone) circuits are very busy, and it is hard to get through to another local number, but if each family had somebody out of town, out of the affected area that they could call and check in with and let them know that they are okay, then if the family was separated each person from that family could call that out of town number, and let them know they are OK,” Knight said. “It may be easier than trying to make local calls.”
For more information about how to prepare for any negative weather, resources can be found at Fcs.uga.edu/extension/disasters.