TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - People who live and work on Tybee Island are already preparing for what Hurricane Michael will bring.
City leaders say right now, they aren’t planning for an evacuation, but they are making sure they’re ready. City Manager Sean Gillen says the fact that flooding on Highway 80 near Fort Pulaski cuts the island off from the mainland is always a concern, but right now, high tide and rain aren’t his main concerns. He’s worried about wind causing power outages and how to work around those.
Gillen hopes power would only be off for a day or so, but because it’s still so hot, the city is worried about people getting overheated. They’re preparing the police station and City Hall as cooling station in case they’re needed. Workers are making sure generators there and those needed to keep city services running are working.
“Prepping all of our pump stations for our sewer system,” Gillen said. “We have backup generators and pump systems for those, making sure our generators for our emergency buildings are ready to go. Some of the things we need to worry about are our vulnerable populations, like the nursing home, to make sure they have the generator power they need, so we’re going to be working with them today and tomorrow.”
They’re also preparing some emergency pumping plans in case flooding becomes a major issue. Gillen also says City Hall will talk with Georgia Power about staging a power truck on the island like it did during Hurricane Irma.
Businesses are taking precautions ahead of the storm as well, marinas being some of the first to do so. Wind, rain, and high tides are expected later this week, so marinas are untying boats from docks and getting them out of the water.
Boaters at Savannah Bend Marina washed their still docked boats Monday morning. It’s a routine they’ve gotten used to in the last couple of years.
“I mean, if you love your boat like I do, you’re going to try to take care of it,” said boater Phuong Nguyen. “It’s like every time - a week, three or four days before - we’re expecting some kind of weather, I wash it and put it in the rack.”
Savannah Bend Marina says this is the fourth time in three years it’s had to move boats out of the water because of a storm. Workers use forklifts to bring the smaller boats out of the water and into its dry stacking facility.
The process takes two or three days, but it’s one boaters and marina managers say is worth it.
“The biggest thing is we’ve got boats in the water and there’s going to be a lot of rain,” said Aaron Groves, assistant marina manager at Savannah Bend Marina. “If we lose power, these boats are plugged into electricity, and if they can’t pump the water out, they could sink right at the docks.”
Some of the boats will go into the barn on their own trailers, and the bigger ones that won’t fit will just stay in the water.
Groves says if you have a boat at home and aren’t getting it inside somewhere, make sure your drain plug is open to keep the water from pooling inside.