“I had one industry tell me today that they just went ahead Wednesday and did their preparedness drills,” said Tim Padgett, director of the Carroll County Emergency Management Agency. “When we had the warnings, they had done the drills in past years and they knew what to do.”
Padgett said that all next week the county EMA will be working with schools, businesses and health care facilities to practice what to do during severe weather. Next Wednesday will be the statewide tornado drill, when the participants will be practicing the same things they did this Wednesday.
“We’ll be sounding the outdoor sirens sometime Wednesday morning, when the drill is called,” Padgett said. “Usually, we test them at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.”
Other days of next week will be devoted to additional weather threats. Monday will be family preparedness day, when it will be emphasized that every family should have a disaster preparation plan. Tuesday will focus on thunderstorm preparedness; Thursday, lightning safety; and Friday, flood safety.
One person was killed and several people suffered injuries Wednesday when a tornado hit part Adairsville in Bartow County. The National Weather Service was still trying to determine whether tornadoes touched down in other counties.
“We were on standby all day Wednesday, watching the weather and communicating with the hospitals and schools,” Padgett said. “Fortunately, we had only a few trees and limbs down and some minor flooding on Little Joe Road, off State Line Road, near Bowdon.”
He said high winds continued into the night, after the tornado threat passed, causing more limbs and trees to fall, but with minimal damage.
Padgett said that although tornadoes are rare for this time of year, they do occur and often form quickly without much warning.
He said the county’s outdoor warning sirens last February were put on a computerized system with the National Weather Service and Georgia Emergency Management Agency that eliminates false alerts.
“The sirens only sound in the area where the weather service has given a tornado warning,” he said. “We tell people now that if they hear the sirens, it means immediate danger and they need to take cover immediately.”
But he noted that the sirens are mainly to warn people who are outdoors and the range is limited, so he encourages everyone to tune in their weather radios or listen to local radio stations.
“Carroll County has 504 square miles and we can’t cover it all with 28 weather sirens,” he said.
On May 11, 2008, two category EF-2 tornadoes touched down in Carroll County, one starting in the Bowdon area and traveling through University of West Georgia and another hitting the Hulett community, traveling along Highway 166 into Douglas County. Although there were no deaths, there were injuries and extensive property damage.
On Aug. 30, 2005, a tornado spawned by Hurricane Katrina, struck a Roopville poultry farm, killing one person.
Padgett said the suggestions for people to put football or motorcycle helmets on to protect their heads during a storm are not as ridiculous as they sound.
“I saw one case where people got into a bathtub and pulled a blanket over them,” he said. “The bathtub ended up outside the house, but everybody survived.”