Frigid temperatures topped news reports the first part of the week as snowstorms blew across the country. Severe winter weather has the potential to affect many people, even in the Southeastern Georgia. According to a news release from Liberty County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Hodges, a storm in January 2011 delivered a thick layer of snow and ice that shut down transportation in parts of Georgia for five days, affecting 70 percent of the state.
Seeing as how Tuesday’s high temperature hovered just a few degrees above freezing, coastal residents likely shouldn’t discount the possibility of extreme conditions reminiscent of 2011’s blizzard. The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook Monday for Liberty County and the surrounding areas. A wind advisory was in effect until Monday evening, and a wind-chill advisory was in effect Tuesday morning. Laquenten Jones, with Fort Stewart’s operation center, said the temperature got down to 27 degrees Monday evening.
“That is abnormally low for this time of year,” he said. “(It’s) probably the lowest it’s even been around here from what I can remember.”
The National Weather Service described conditions as unusually cold in the report it issued for Liberty County, where the average low at this time of year usually is around 37 degrees.
Hodges said in his release that the National Weather Service refers to winter storms as “deceptive killers” because the deaths that follow such inclement weather usually are indirectly related to the storm. People die in traffic accidents on icy roads or of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold.
“One of the primary concerns of winter weather is its ability to knock out heat, power and communications services,” Hodges said in the release. “Preparation is inexpensive and easy, and can help you avoid potentially life-threatening situations.”
The Liberty County Emergency Management Agency advises families to keep a ready kit of emergency supplies in their homes. This should include a three-day supply of nonperishable food, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, adequate clothing, blankets and any necessary prescription medication. Winter weather may require residents to stay inside for days at a time.
A similar ready kit should be kept in families’ vehicles as well, Hodges said in the release. An ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables should be added to the kit.
A statewide emergency-preparedness campaign called “Ready Georgia,” which was designed to help families prepare for a winter storm, can be accessed at http://www.ready.ga.gov. On the site, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security offer the tools needed to make an emergency-supply kit, develop a communication plan and stay informed about potential winter threats.
“This is a great time to make sure you are prepared for extreme conditions this winter,” Hodges said in his release.
Families also can receive alerts about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for Liberty County Emergency Management Agency’s emergency-alert program. The system enables the agency to quickly provide area residents with critical information in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations.
Alert Liberty can notify those who opt in of an active alert via call, text or email. Participants can go to www.libertycountyga.com and choose the alerts they want to receive.