Chatham County Commission, CEMA prepares for Tropical Storm Erik - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham County Commission, CEMA prepares for Tropical Storm Erika


The Chatham County Commission continues to get updates through CEMA, which said it will have a staff at the emergency operation center over the weekend to continue monitoring tropical storm Erika as it moves closer to the continental U.S.

Commission members were addressed by the interim director for the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency on Friday about their preparation for a potential hit from tropical storm Ericka, and answered any questions commission members had. Chairman Al Scott said the commission has been on numerous conference calls for about a week now to determine the necessary staff the county would need on hand in a disaster situation.

Scott said they've been in touch with state and federal emergency agencies as well.

"They have a series of questions,” said Scott. “What they're really trying to determine, really, your readiness, your preparedness, and are you ready to evacuate? Those are the kinds of things that they're really trying to determine through those discussions."

The commission said they will be in touch with the emergency operation center all weekend, following any of the storms developments.

Commissioners asked CEMA's interim director questions to get a better idea of what's to come, which at this point is still a big question mark.

But in the event that we do see heavy rain from this system, flooding will be a concern county-wide.
Emergency management officials have said while storm surge might not be bringing water inland, freshwater sources like this could become the issue.

Chatham County Emergency Management interim director Dennis Jones said his agency has been monitoring Tropical Storm Erika closely over the past two days. CEMA is looking closely at what the impact would be on the county if our area was hit, from one end of the county to the other.

And just as important as it is for the county and its agencies to know what to do in a disaster situation, Jones said families need to make sure they have plans in order and a family emergency kit together.

"We're looking at this storm, we are in the error cone,” said Jones. “It is prudent for the community to be prepared. If we have to advance to another operating condition where we start moving things around, it'll be because again, there is a significant threat that has been communicated to us from the national hurricane Center, or the National Weather Service."

As county emergency agencies prepare to deal with the potential effects from Erika, so does the City of Savannah.

The heads of all of Savannah's emergency offices have been meeting all week to talk about storm preps and how they'll react depending on what hits.

They'll be watching the progress of Erika closely from the Port-wide command and control center over the weekend. 

"We did have a meeting this morning with all of our bureau chiefs, our public works our law-enforcement," said Savannah Emergency Management Director Dan Stowers. "There are areas that are likely to flood and we know that. They will be monitored closely, as always, in any rain events. Especially with a system like this where we do have advanced notice."

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