Michael expected to spare Hart its brunt
Florida Gov. Rick Scott didn’t mince words in a press conference Tuesday afternoon when he urged coastal residents directly in the path of Hurricane Michael to “get out” while they still had the chance.
The storm is expected to make landfall sometime Wednesday afternoon in the Big Bend region of Florida’s panhandle.
Based on current predictions, effects are expected to be felt as far as Northeast Georgia, including Hart County.
At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Hart County’s emergency management agency director Terrell Partain had a briefing with the National Weather Service about the situation.
At that time, luckily, the storm’s biggest fury is expected to pass far to the south of Hart County.
“We expect maybe three inches of rain and a little wind,” Partain said. “Most of it is going to be south of us. The closest county that’s going to be really affected is probably Warren County. That’s where the state of emergency starts, Warren County and south.”
Still, citizens should be vigilant and stay abreast of updated weather reports and their own surroundings, he said.
“The biggest thing that we got is, if we get a whole lot of rain, we could have some flash flooding in spots,” Partain said. “Luckily, we don’t have many of those.”
Meteorologist Scott Krentz with the National Weather Service in Greenville/Spartanburg confirmed the brunt of the storm’s effects in Hart County will come through overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning.
“You’ll probably get about two inches of rain or so around the county,” Krentz said. “It shouldn’t be enough to cause flooding conditions for you guys because you’re not really a flash flood area. It’s not out of the question. You could still have some streams that get elevated. That’s for sure. We’re not expecting major flooding issues there.”
Unlike last month’s slow-moving Hurricane Florence, the quickness of this new system fares much better in the way of being unlikely to cause many flooding issues.
According to Krentz, Northeast Georgia will still have some gusty winds with which to contend.
“The track of the system is pretty much going to be across kind of the midlands,” Krentz said. “You’re going to be on the good side of the storm, as far as the stronger winds are concerned. But you’re still going to be gusty. I’d say you’ll have gusts 25 to 30 miles per hour tomorrow (Wednesday) evening through midday Thursday.”
Since no storm’s exact track can be 100 percent predicted, Partain stressed that residents should still use common sense and be prepared just in case Michael makes a last minute turn.
That includes keeping enough supplies (like food, water, medications, batteries, etc.) to be self sufficient for at least 72 hours, barring any medical emergencies.
In the event of power outages, which Hart County is just inside the predicted zone for “possible” outages, generators are never to be operated indoors.
By latest account, Michael isn’t expected to hang around and cause too many headaches in Hart County. Yet, county officials are still on guard in case the storm ends up making a last minute turn.
“It’s supposed to blow through and be gone in a few hours,” Partain said. “We’ll have crews on call, but we’re not going to staff anybody, not unless something changes.”