EFFINGHAM, GA (WTOC) - At least four Effingham churches will be opening as Good Samaritan shelters as Hurricane Michael draws closer to the Coastal Empire.
Springfield United Methodist Church is just one of the good samaritan shelters. Officials are urging residents to check in here or the others if you are uncomfortable staying in at home during Hurricane Michael. The following shelters will open up at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.
- Sandhill Baptist Church at 1936 Sand Hill Rd, Guyton GA 31312
- Liberty Christian Fellowship at 302 Church St, Guyton GA 31312
- Springfield United Methodist Church at 210 Cleveland St, Springfield GA 31329
- Elam Egypt Baptist Church at 184 Fifth St South, Guyton GA 3131
Additionally, Effingham County officials cancelled classes for the school district Wednesday morning.
“Our main concern is the travel, having children out at the bus stops getting on and off the buses during heavy wind and rain.," said Lt. Hannah Jenkins with the Effingham Emergency Management Agency. "We don’t want to put them in danger. We don’t want them on the buses and we don’t want the buses out on the roads where there could be debris in the roadway.”
Effingham Emergency Management is monitoring Hurricane Michael’s forecast track closely. Officials are anticipating the following:
- Portions of Effingham have already received more than 2” of rain, and an additional 2-6” of rain is possible today through Thursday evening.
- Winds will begin increasing over the course of the day, with higher winds expected late Wednesday and into the early hours of Thursday morning.
- Widespread wind damage is expected, with down trees and power lines, so we want to urge everyone to prepare for power outages:
- Have flashlights and an AM/FM radio with extra batteries.
- Have nonperishable food, a manual can opener, and bottled water.
- Do not call 911 to report outages – call your utility provider.
Looking at the size of the county, Lt. Jenkins said the priority of threats remains the same throughout, specifically focusing on downed power lines.
“The Sheriff’s Office is also going to be utilizing chainsaws in their patrol cars, so they are going to have some units out that can assist with those down trees," Lt. Jenkins said. "We have extra units on standby. We have not called them in yet. We have them ready to go if that need becomes necessary.”
Appling County has also opened a shelter at the First United Methodist Church with room for 20-40 beds for people looking for a place to stay.
“We’re expecting a good bit of wind and some tornadoes, so we’re listening to our emergency managemement agency that does a great job here," said Steve Meguiar, Pastor of First United Methodist. "They’re the ones that asked us to open for the local residents...Asking folks to stay off the road until tomorrow once the storm passes through.”
For those not on social media or have access to an internet, Effingham Emergency Management Agency has a hotline number you can call to give you updates on the storm and county response. 912-754-8206
Three Good Samaritan shelters are also opening in Candler County.
- New Life Baptist Church located at GA Hwy 121, just south of I-16 in Metter will open at 2:00 p.m. Call 912-685-9700 for more information.
- Metter Church of God located at 785 North Lewis Street in Metter will open at 3:00 p.m. Call 912-685-2763 for more information.
- Anchor Worship Center located at 88 Eldridge Street in Metter will open at 4:00 p.m. Call 912-685-2258 for more information.