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Don't Let Floyd Catch You Unprepared

If normal caution hasn't already gotten you ready for a hurricane, look closely at Hurricane Floyd. The last thing you want to be when Floyd comes calling is unprepared.

"Hurricane Floyd is an extremely dangerous, monster of a storm that could impact all of Georgia," said state climatologist David Stooksbury. "Even if Georgia doesn't receive a direct hit from Floyd, severe impacts are very possible."

With 155-mile-per-hour winds and gusts to 190, Floyd is packing torrential rains that could add severe flooding to its damage.

Along the Georgia coast, the storm surge is a major risk. "Most people who die in hurricanes drown," Stooksbury said. "It's imperative that people living in the coastal counties follow the instructions from their local emergency management agency.

Here are some tips that can help you and your family weather the storm.

General Preparation

  • Keep abreast of the latest forecasts, watches and warnings from the National Weather Service via NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Review your family disaster plan. Follow the evacuation route set by your local Emergency Management Agency. It's important to follow the designated routes, since the EMA will have up-to-date information on road conditions and traffic.
  • Notify a relative or friend well away from the coast of your plans. If the family becomes separated, this person can become your family's link.
  • Fuel your vehicles, and make sure you have some cash and credit cards for evacuation or lodging expenses.
  • Remember the pets. Make sure the shelter accepts them, or use a pet carrier or leash during evacuations.
  • Check for and put away loose objects that can blow away and damage houses. Tie down anything that can't be moved inside.
  • Board up, tape or place storm shutters on windows and glass doors to prevent flying glass that may cause injury.
  • Get battery-operated lights and a radio and plenty of batteries to power them. Don't use open flames such as candles.

Food and Safety

  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer up to its highest setting in anticipation of losing power. Pack food in the smallest space you can so it will insulate itself and stay cold longer. If you know the power will be off two or more days, dry ice can keep food cold and safe to eat longer. Reset the controls after the threat of power loss passes.
  • Fill large containers with water for drinking. Flooding can contaminate water supplies, and power outages can leave well pumps useless.
  • Move three days' worth of nonperishable, canned and ready-to-eat foods for each family member to a safe place. Be sure you have a hand-operated can opener.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Electrical shorts or gas line breaks can easily cause fires. In flood or hurricane situations, fire fighters may be unable to reach your home.
  • Check your first aid kit. Make sure you have rubbing alcohol, adhesive bandages, a blanket, antibacterial ointment or cream and material to make a sling or tourniquet. Make certain family members have enough of any prescribed medicines to last them through the storm.

Farm Preparation

Farmers need to take special precautions before storms. Be sure to:

  • Scout fields for current disease or insect problems. Knowing current crop stresses can affect harvest decisions after weather damage.
  • Provide ample food and safe water sources for livestock.
  • Secure equipment and lightweight machinery to keep wind from blowing it onto other equipment or structures and causing damage.
  • Check seals and external gaskets on doors and equipment. High winds can force rainwater into tiny cracks and into areas where water can cause rust or other damage. Blowing rain can wet equipment under shelters, so cover that as well.

For hurricane recovery information, check the World Wide Web page at www.griffin.peachnet.edu/caes/drought/tropical.htm.

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