Chatham County prepares for flooding

Chatham County preparing for Hurricane Michael impact

CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Even with wind and power outages as our greatest threats, Chatham County is preparing for flooding as well.

The Emergency Management Office has had a lot of crews out cleaning. CEMA Director Dennis Jones says he’s been working with public works crews for two days to make sure drains are cleared ahead of the storm. He says they’ve also assessed their flood control equipment to make sure it’s working correctly. Barricades are ready to be set up along East Henry Street if and when it floods. It’s a spot where drivers regularly get stranded during a normal rain.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach says that’s one reason you don’t need to be on the road.

“You don’t need to be driving if you don’t have to. Stay at the house, watch some TV, check the weather, that’s what you can do,” Mayor DeLoach said.

The city of Savannah is postponing several events they had planned to host on Wednesday, including a ribbon cutting for the new Windsor Park, a special called meeting and review for the city manager, and a town hall meeting.

“We’re just going to continue on and just monitor,” the mayor said. “And if it goes like we planned, we’re going to be okay, and if something happens, we’re going to be in touch with Dennis and those guys on a regular basis, and we have calls on a regular basis, and if there’s a need to, he’ll let us know if we need to change, but as of right now, we’re going on business as usual.”

Savannah’s emergency management director says the city follows the county’s lead in situations like this. It’s doing similar preparations behind the scenes in case they’re needed in the next couple of days.

Michael will also put our area at risk for tornadoes. Jones says the right front corner of a hurricane is most likely to create a tornado. He says our risk for a tornado increased some throughout the day because that’s the part of the storm that should pass closest to Chatham County. We asked if there were plans to open shelters for those in mobile homes or less sturdy structures.

“As of right now, we don’t have any needs for any shelters,” Jones said. “We have been talking about that for the two days. All of our partners are ready to go, ready to implement a shelter if we have to do so. Right now, we don’t see a need. The Homeless Authority, we’ve been in contact with them, and they have reached out to the homeless camps and they are coordinating with Savannah Police Department and also Savannah’s Emergency Management and also the homeless shelters in the community, so there is availability in the homeless shelters and the Homeless Authority is coordinating all of those activities.”

Jones says the National Weather Service isn’t expecting a tornado here to be stronger than an EF-1, but the tornado that hit the Islands a couple of months ago was an EF-1. It caused a good amount of damage to Marshpoint Elementary and the Oatland Island Wildlife Center.

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