All eyes are on the tropics this holiday weekend as a strengthening Hurricane Dorian approaches. Dorian is churning and strengthening in the warm Atlantic waters and, while her eventual track is still unknown, the City of Thomasville is actively monitoring the situation and preparing for adverse weather conditions should a shift in the storm’s track bring Dorian closer to home.
“While Dorian’s track and the potential impact is still uncertain, we are taking the time now to make sure our City crews are ready to respond to any adverse weather conditions we may have for our area,” said Chris White, Executive Director of Public Utilities. “As an organization, we have an established response plan that involves pre-planning so that we are prepared should we have any impacts from the approaching storm.”
Some of the preparations City of Thomasville staff is addressing include:
- Coordinating with Thomas County EMA and GEMA in regards to storm information;
- Discussing mutual aid agreements with other utility providers for electric restoration efforts;
- Clearing out trouble spots in the collection system to ensure the system runs effectively with the anticipated higher water flow;
- Ensuring adequate personnel are on standby, and additional personnel are assigned to key city facilities—such as the Wastewater Treatment Plant, Fire Rescue, Electric Operations, Public Works, etc.—to respond quickly to storm damage;
- Cleaning out catch basins, road culverts, and storm pipes of leaves, debris and anything that could clog inlets or culverts to ensure water flows properly throughout the city stormwater system;
- Inspecting erosion control measures, open excavations and material storage at City construction sites and asking private contractors to do the same;
- Ensuring all necessary small equipment—chainsaws, weed eaters, etc.—generators and vehicles are inspected and fueled and that an adequate fuel supply is on hand;
- Verifying inventory of materials and supplies needed for restoration efforts;
- Fully charging all handheld radios, cell phones, and other electronic devices and ensuring all internal and external communications protocols are in place.
At the very least, rain is expected in our forecast from Dorian. With this in mind, Thomasville residents can assist with storm preparations by making sure that they do not have debris blocking any stormwater drainage areas on their private property. Additionally, residents may also assist by reporting any areas that need to be cleared by work crews. Other ways citizens can prepare for potential storm impacts include the following:
- Assess your property and be sure yard furniture, trash bins, yard toys and equipment are secured or put away.
- Avoid performing any large pruning of shrubs and trees unless immediate disposal of waste material is possible.
- Be sure there is no other debris on your property that can float or be blown away, as these things can block the storm drains and prevent the flow of water through our community.
- Register your cell number with your City of Thomasville Utilities account to utilize the free Tville TextAlert outage reporting system.
- Obtain a working NOAA Weather Radio.
- Monitor weather situations and be alert to changing conditions.
“Severe weather, particularly that of a tropical nature, can also impact utility operations, including electrical service,” said White. “In the event of an outage, electric crews will work to bring customers back online as quickly as possible. In the event of an outage, customers should make sure that they have adequate food, water, batteries, medications and fuel for vehicles.”
“It’s also important that utility customers understand how to report an outage,” White said. “The best way to report a loss of electric service is by calling 227-5499 and not through social media.” If wide-spread outages are experienced in our area, the call may be answered by the auto attendant. “Customers may also utilize our Tville TextAlert system to report outages once a cell phone number is linked to the utility account.”
Citizens should also keep the following city department numbers handy:
- Outage Hotline – 229-227-5499
- Public Works & Other City Services – 229-227-7001
- After Hours – 229-227-5499
- All Emergencies—911
The City of Thomasville will continue to monitor Dorian’s track and post updates as appropriate to Facebook and the City of Thomasville’s webpage, Thomasville.org. Citizens should continue to monitor the latest forecast and local emergency management information through the following websites:
National Hurricane Center, www.nhc.noaa.gov
National Weather Service Tallahassee, http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tlh