by Riley Hicks
At a Friday afternoon briefing by the National Weather Service, representatives talked about what to possibly expect as Hurricane Irma heads towards Georgia. The predictions are subject to change as they are based on the current weather model forecasted for the area.
If Irma’s track continues over the mainland of Florida as predicted and not along the coastline, by the time the hurricane hits the Georgia border it will have turned into a tropical storm. The earliest arrival time could start around Monday morning, but most likely the peak period will be overnight Monday through Tuesday morning.
This means that Fayette County residents should be prepared for sustained tropical storm force winds of 30-35 mph. Wind gusts between 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday could hit 40-41mph and rise to 50-51 mph between Monday evening and Tuesday morning. By Wednesday, serious threats from the storm should be out of Georgia as it continues to weaken.
Right now, the weather conditions are as follows for Monday through Wednesday. There are strong to moderate risks of flooding and damaging winds. Amounts of rain could total 3 to 5 inches through the three days. While Fayette will see some increased tornado risk, a stronger chance stands east of I-75 during Monday evening’s peak.
Predictions could change if the storm takes a turn and goes up the coast of Georgia. This would mean that people should expect stronger winds and a smaller risk for tornadoes.
The Fayette County Water System will prepare by lowering all raw water sources two to three feet to take on additional rainfall from Irma. If the current model holds true, Fayette will see significant power outages, trees down, flooding, high winds, and possible tornadoes. The water treatment plants have generators in place and will increase their on-site chemical and supply quantities to ensure water production continues should damages prevent or delay any deliveries.
The Fayetteville Fire and Police departments, along with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, recommend residents start preparing by stocking up the following items:
• Water (3 gallons per person)
• Food (3-day supply, non-perishable)
• Can opener
• Flash light
• Extra batteries
• First aid Kit
• Whistle (to signal for help)
• Face mask (to filter contaminated air)
• Moist towelettes
• Garbage and plastic ties
• Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
• Local maps
Image via The Weather Channel