The Long County/Ludowici Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee met recently at the Ludowici City Hall to identify and prioritize possible disasters that could hit the area. Local emergency responders, along with other area agencies, offered input to hazard mitigation planner Kathy Flournoy.
The group discussed potential dangers, including wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. They attempted to quantify the potential dangers to the city and county should one of these disasters take place.
According to the group, one of the key concerns was flooding. Information provided by the panel showed that flooding in April 2010 was some of the worst that ever had been recorded in the county. The group said some of the housing areas affected by the water were Crawford Subdivision, Vicker’s Hill and Persimmon’s Estates.
Darrell Ballance, Long County Emergency Management Agency director, commented on the difficulty of addressing some of these areas in the county.
“Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done without major drainage work because most of the areas are in low-lying areas,” Ballance said.
According to the county’s hazard profile, certain areas in the county had the potential for significant flood damage, isolation of citizens and an inability for school buses and emergency vehicles to traverse the area.
The most recent major damage occurred in 1998 during Tropical Storm Frances, when the county was included in the presidentially declared disaster, according to the report.
The panel also analyzed the potential for a wildfire and the damage that could result.
Georgia Department of Forestry acting Chief Ranger Paul Robertson questioned some of the data provided by Flournay. One questionable aspect was the amount of the county that had the potential for damage.
In the information provided, potential smoke damage was not factored in, but Robertson said it needed to be in the report for the information to be accurate.
After a brief discussion, the group came to a consensus that 90 percent of the structures in the city and county have the potential for damage.
Robertson also said this has been a dry year so far and that as of January, the county was 4 to 6 inches short of the average amount of rainfall.
Some of the other issues discussed by the group included potential damage by a hurricane, drought, tornado, windstorm and hazardous material.
The group’s next meeting is March 10 at the Ludowici City Hall.