Storm Stories

Red Cross Ready to Roll Out...Wherever Isaac Strikes

Tallahassee, Florida- August 27, 2012- 11pm

The Red Cross donates food, supplies and medication, among other things, in their mobile units but someone has to make sure those vehicles are up to code.

That's where Eugene "Cricket" Harper and Dolan Collins come into play.

Collins is from Nebraska while Harper hails from South Carolina. The two are driving to where others are leaving. They make sure the fleet of vehicles traveling across the country for the Red Cross are in working order and able to get help to those in need.

"When you get there there's usually tires, bad batteries or front end (issues)," said Collins.

"We don't like to see disasters happen but if it happens we want to be there to give them a shoulder to lay on and keep these trucks running," said Harper.

The vehicle they drive to disaster scenes looks like a mini-body shop inside with every tool you could think of to fix vehicles. It also helps that Harper runs his own body shop in the Palmetto State.

"Knowing that I have a mechanical background I decided this is something I would enjoy doing."

Between Dolan and Eugene, they have more than 14 years of experience working for the Red Cross and they've been all across the country from Colorado to New York and Texas to Florida.

Even though these two don't meet storm victims face-to-face, they're just happy they can help in the road to recovery.

"They know that you're there to help and that's what we're there for," said Collins.
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Tallahassee, Florida- August 27, 2012

Red Cross volunteers are getting ready for the storm too. They're ready to roll out as soon as they get the call to help.You'll see dozens of Red Cross trucks waiting in Tallahassee.

The Northwood Center in Tallahassee off of Monroe Street north of town is where volunteers have set up units to help potential victims of Tropical Storm Isaac. Thousands have come to Gulf Coast states to help as many prepare for strong winds and possible flooding.

Trucks will be heading out tomorrow. The drivers will be resting up in hotels in Tallahassee tonight then heading out to the eye of the storm- that is, wherever they expect Isaac to make landfall. At the Red Cross headquarters in Tallahassee there is a large storage unit for water supplies non perishable food items you name it.

Now if you can't donate items and just want to give money text the word Red Cross to 90999 and ten bucks will go to the Red Cross.
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Tallahassee, Florida- August 27, 2012- 5:30pm

The American Red Cross Capital Area Chapter has set up shop for what's expected to be a busy week for those trying to help victims of Tropical Storm Isaac. In Leon County, the Red Cross has decided to post its headquarters in Tallahassee.

The Red Cross has already made 30 thousand ready to go meals when Isaac makes landfall. They also have two mobile kitchens that can be dispatched as soon as they are needed. FEMA officials are helping prepare for the upcoming storm. They have been preparing as well. Speaking of FEMA, the last day to apply for aid from Debby is a week from tomorrow. 22 counties are up for aid.
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August 27, 2012- 11:15am

In preparation for TS Isaac making landfall, the American Red Cross Capital Area Chapter has been asked to serve as a staging area for Red Cross Emergency Response vehicles and Mobile Feeding Kitchens coming from all over the nation. Red Cross Emergency Response vehicles perform mobile feeding and the distribution of needed supplies to shelters and residents affected by the storm.

“We will stage all the vehicles at the Northwood Center” said Dan Samborn, CEO for the Capital Area Chapter of the Red Cross. Vehicles started to arrive this morning and are now parked at the chapter headquarters on Easterwood Drive until we move them to the Northwood Center.

The vehicles will deploy to the affected areas once the storm makes landfall and it is safe to enter the area. “We expect to stage at least 50 vehicles for the next few days.”

People can send donations to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting www.tallyredcross.org , calling 850-878-6080 or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, 1115 Easterwood Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32311. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.tallyredcross.org or join our blog at http:/cacarc.wordpress.com.
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Some St. George Locals Keep to the Beach

St. George Island, Florida- August 27, 2012

Mandatory evacuations are in place for many areas across the Gulf Coast.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for St. George Island, Dog Island, St. Theresa, and low lying areas of the shore. I'm standing at the Blue Parrot, where the owner here said he's sticking it out and open for business.

"We worry about the restaurant. So, some of the key people, we stay just to make sure everything's ok."
The open sign outside the Blue Parrot is flashing. George Joanis says he's been here for seven years and as long as there is power, its business as usual.

"Sure it'd be easy for us to close and go run and hide. But, as you can see, it's not that bad. And you can come and have a burger or fresh grouper sandwich, and watch the weather at the same time."

Throughout the day, winds picked up and rain bands passed through, but the beach stayed fairly quiet.

Said David Volk, the St. George Island Beach Manager: "Everybody pulled off everything from the wave runners, and we pulled all the chairs and umbrella from the Saint George Island Beach Service....and now we're just gonna waiting pattern."

Most of the homes are empty. Locals say the high point of vacation season ended two weeks ago.With the beach cleared in anticipation of Isaac, some people say it's time to play.
Said one visitor: "This is what we do.....we wait all year for the hurricanes to come so we can go surfing out here cause there's not much out here."

The Blue Parrot said that they did have some customers today. We did just learn that the bridge has been closed to incoming traffic unless you're a resident of the island.
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Coastal Residents Prepare for Isaac's Impact

St. George Island, Florida- August 27, 2012

Residents along our coast are are preparing for Isaac's impact.

Everybody seems to be taking it in stride. It's all pretty relaxed, the way you'd picture a beach town to be. We've seen plenty of people out and about even surfing but we also saw truck beds filled with gas cans and supplies. If you're looking for a generator, you won't find one here.
Gas cans? Only a handful left.

Taylor's Building Supply was even open when it's normally closed knowing people would need to stop and shop.

Said Ken Fish of Taylor's Building Supply: "A lot of people were getting their flashlights and their batteries and their water."

Generators were some of the first things to go.
But other storm supplies weren't too far behind.

"Gas tank, lanterns etc," listed Fish.

The mandatory evacuation in Franklin County has people leaving St George island but many are choosing to stay.

Justin Fischer flew from Atlanta to help his family get ready.

"We didn't know how bad it was going to be so we decided I'd come down and help him board up."

Now he's bored because Monday's weather wasn't as crazy as he expected.

As far as his plans for the day, Fischer said: "Probably just eat and watch some TV."

People here are mostly concerned about storm surge and flooding. Ken Fish, from the hardware store lives along Hwy 98 that runs through Eastpoint near St. George. He says parts of 98 flood whenever they get weather like this and that's what they're concerned about. They're nervous about power as well because during Tropical Storm Debby the island was dark for 5 days.
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South Georgia on 'Code Red'

Valdosta, Georgia- August 27, 2012

The Lowndes County 911 center gets roughly 700 calls every day. During bad weather, such as Tropical Storm Isaac, that call volume can double. So when is appropriate to call 911?

Lowndes County 911 Center's Director, Danny Weeks, said "It's always a difficult question because to the person that's making the call it may really be an emergency although it may be routine to the ones at the 911 center. If you feel threatened, if have something that you feel is a safety issue by all means call. That's what we're there for."

They're not there for weather updates. Which the county says accounts for a number of 911 calls. In the last few days, Tropical Storm Isaac has shifted West, but that doesn't mean citizens can't be ready.

Lowndes County Clerk Paige Dukes said "what we want to stress is that regardless of the forecast you need to be prepared. You can go to www.ready.ga.gov and there are plenty of checklists there for your home or business. There's an opportunity there for kids to do their own emergency plan. Sign up for Code Red."

Code Red is a free alert system that began in 2007 and will text as well as call citizens with any weather emergencies in their area.

To download Code Red for free go to this website:

https://cne.coderedweb.com/Default.aspx?
groupid=tiYeE6SBQh6aepvHhM1kTA%3D%3D
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Lowndes County, Georgia- August 27, 2012

At 1:00 p.m. today, Lowndes County Emergency Management held a briefing to provide local responders with information related to the impact Tropical Storm Isaac could have on Lowndes County. According to the Tallahassee Division of the National Weather Service, 4-6 inches of rain could fall throughout the county over the next two to three days. While the path of the storm continues to shift to the west, taking Lowndes County out of the threatening areas indicated in earlier reports, citizens should continue to plan for inclement weather.

Due to recent rains, parts of the county and the cities of Valdosta, Hahira, Remerton, Lake Park and Dasher remain wet. Over the last week, E 9-1-1 has experienced a higher number of calls reporting fallen trees than usual. This being the case, additional rain and light to moderate winds, may cause additional trees to fall. Falling trees have the potential to impact power lines which may result in temporary power outages. Residents are encouraged to be prepared for brief periods of power outages, as rain and wind moves through the area.

Please remain aware of your surroundings at all times. In the event emergency information needs to be disseminated quickly, emergency management is prepared to use CodeRed. To sign up for Lowndes County’s free, emergency notification system, citizens may visit www.lowndescounty.com and click on the CodeRed icon. In addition, please stay tuned to local media outlets, additional information will be released as it becomes available.

While current forecasts do not indicate that flooding will be an issue, area rivers could rise quickly as rain begins to fall. Historically, flooding does not affect local roads and/or residences until water levels reach approximately 17 feet; as of now the Withlacoochee River is at just less than 7 feet. Citizens should be prepared for rapidly changing conditions, if the rain forecast for Lowndes County increases or if areas north of the county begin to receive significant amounts of rain. Lowndes County Emergency Management will continue to monitor conditions. Residents in and around the 100 year flood plain, should pay close attention to rising water levels. Citizens may monitor river levels by accessing real time stream gauge information at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=tae.

Traditionally, tropical storm wind and rain moves through in bands of activity. This being the case, heavy rain and wind is usually followed by a brief period of calm. Please do not risk traveling roads, streets and bridges if you do not have to. Traffic accidents can be avoided by staying off wet roads. Motorists that must travel after dark should be aware that storm debris, downed power lines and trees can be difficult to see. Please proceed with caution and only in the event that travel cannot be avoided. To report downed power lines or other debris on roadways, please dial 911.

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Additional preparedness information may be found by visiting, www.ready.ga.gov. For more information, please contact Lowndes County Public Information Officer, Paige Dukes, 229-292-6142 or pdukes@lowndescounty.com

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WCTV Brings You A Gull's Eye View of Isaac from St. George Island

St. George Island, Florida- August 27, 2012- 6pm

Conditions are changing minute by minute. The rains have picked up and sand is blowing everywhere.
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St. George Island, Florida- August 27, 2012- 5:30pm

WCTV is still hanging out- taking a nice little stroll along the beach while we can because we are expecting more wind and rain out here. It's died down a lot just since you last saw us at 5. While we know everyone still has power let's talk about a couple of tips if you lose it. A home insurance company sent some tips our way...

Unplug computers, home entertainment systems and non-essential equipment and appliances. This helps prevent surge damage when electrical power is restored.

Do not run portable generator in enclosed spaces such as a garage to avoid the danger of carbon monoxide.

Limit opening refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will keep longer if doors remain closed. If the power is out longer than two hours, throw away food that has a temperature higher than 40°F.

Do not use charcoal or gas grills or camp stoves for cooking in enclosed areas.

When Debby hit the island, they didn't have power for days but the concern doesn't seem to be quite as strong this go around.
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St. George Island, Florida- August 27, 2012- 5pm

Many Franklin County residents have boarded up their homes and headed for higher ground.

We're being told that the bridge to St George island is now closed. Franklin County is under a mandatory evacuation. St George Island, Bald Point, St. Theresa, mobile homes in low lying areas anyone in those place is being asked to leave but we've seen plenty of people sticking around.

With the bridge being closed, people would be stopped before being allowed on and only someone living or working here would be able to pass.
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St. George Island, Florida- August 27, 2012- 5pm

WCTV headed down to St. George Island around 10 a.m. The drive down was pretty uneventful but once we crossed the bridge from Eastpoint to the island, winds picked up and so did the rain. There was a bit of a lull in the rain this afternoon but things started to get active again around an hour ago.

The surf is beginning to kick up. Earlier today the waves were a bit smaller. The beach has stayed fairly quiet. There have been a few people walking out to check out the storm. We even saw a few brave people with their surf boards.

Some of the businesses here on the island are open. The gas station and convenience store as well as a restaurant.

WCTV will be out at St. George throughout the evening. We will continue to keep you updated on the conditions.
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City of Tallahassee Has Extra Crews on Standby for Isaac Aid

[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida- August 27, 2012- 3:45 p.m.

In anticipation of the continued potential for adverse impacts from Tropical Storm Isaac, the City of Tallahassee has placed extra crews on standby for any response efforts needed. Though the storm appears to be heading toward an eventual landfall in Louisiana, Isaac's very large size is causing impacts that are being felt hundreds of miles away from the center. The City continues to be prepared to respond to any adverse conditions from the storm as long as Isaac remains a threat. The City's Area Command will begin 24-hour staffing this evening at 8 p.m. to oversee response efforts.

Citizen inquiries – The City's call center is now operating 24 hours daily and will do so as long as Isaac remains a threat to the community. Citizens with any storm-related issues may call 850-891-4YOU (4968); these include power outages, downed trees, impassable roads or flooding concerns.

Electric Utility – With a likelihood of heavy rain overnight into tomorrow, the City's Electric Utility has placed extra crews on call beginning tonight, with up to 30 employees available for power outage response efforts in addition to normal staffing. While several scattered outages occurred yesterday and today, due primarily to tree limbs falling on or against power lines, most have been restored quickly. Currently, no outages are being reported.

Public Works – In addition, the City's Public Works Department has placed extra crews on call beginning tonight, primarily for tree clearing and flooding concerns. Crews specializing in limb removal and/or leaning trees are also now on standby. Public Works is also lowering the level of Lake Ella by approximately two feet to help alleviate potential flooding concerns in the area.

Bags and sand remain available in the parking lot of the Messer Field South Softball Complex on the south side of Jackson Bluff Road between Appleyard Drive and Dupree Street and at Winthrop Park in the parking area alongside Mitchell Avenue near Betton Road. Citizens need to bring their own shovels, but sand and bags are provided with a suggested limit of 20 bags per household. City crews are monitoring the sites and are ready to provide additional sand and bags as needed. Over 3,000 sandbags have been collected by citizens thus far from the two City locations.

Tallahassee Regional Airport – Although operations at the airport have remained normal, several flight delays/cancellations have occurred, primarily involving flights to South Florida cities already being impacted by Isaac. Passengers are reminded to contact their airline directly regarding the status of flights. Extra Tallahassee Regional Airport operations/maintenance staff is now on standby to assist as needed while Isaac remains a threat to the area.

Public Safety – Both the Tallahassee Police Department and Tallahassee Fire Department are ready to assign extra officers/firefighting personnel as needed. All equipment has been tested and is fully ready for deployment as needed.

The City provides a variety of communications tools to ensure citizens remain informed during emergency situations. These include:

Twitter posts @COTNews – includes power outage updates, major road closures, flooding reports. Traffic/transportation updates and other road closures are available @COTTraffic
Facebook updates at Facebook.com/COTNews – with all City news releases and storm-related information
Talgov.com – official City website with information about preparation, response and recovery efforts
WCOT (Comcast Cable channel 13) – storm-related information

For now, all City services not referenced remain intact and on schedule, including Solid Waste Services, StarMetro, Underground Utilities, and Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs.

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Tallahassee, Florida- August 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac's path is still unclear, but local grocery stores are extra busy today as people stock up on food and supplies.

Many shoppers we spoke to said they were stocking up on staple foods and toiletries.

An employee at one grocery store said he's seen a steady flow of customers coming through doors.

One shopper says she picked up enough food to last her a few days.

"Edible crackers, cookies, things that don't have to be put in the oven and canned meats," said Dot Roberts.

Emergency officials say when preparing for a storm, it's best to stock up on non-perishable food, batteries, prescription medications, and lots of water.

They recommend having at least a four day supply on hand.

Meanwhile, residents also picked up sandbags on Sunday in preparation for the possibility of Isaac.

City workers say as of 12:30 Saturday afternoon they had already passed out two truck loads worth of sand.

Many people who were filling sandbags said after damage from Tropical Storm Debby, they want to be better prepared this time around.

Beverly Speight, Tallahassee Resident said, "Just trying to make sure that everything is ready so that when the storm or hurricane does come. we're ready to roll."

Tallahassee Resident Homer O'Bright added, "I'm glad to see everybody's out here taking this thing serious. We have to take it serious, there's no doubt about that."

Each household was able to pick up 20 bags of sand for free.

City workers say the sandbags can make all the difference when it comes to flooding.
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President Obama's Briefing on Tropical Storm Isaac and Call to Florida Governor Rick Scott

August 26, 2012 - Press Release: Office of the Press Secretary

Readout of President Obama’s Briefing on Tropical Storm Isaac and Call to Florida Governor Rick Scott

Today, President Obama received a briefing on preparations underway for Tropical Storm Isaac, which could become a hurricane as early as today. The FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, and National Hurricane Center Director, Dr. Rick Knabb, briefed the President on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states. During the briefing, the President directed Administrator Fugate to make sure FEMA continues to coordinate closely with state and local officials in potentially impacted states and address the needs of local communities as the storm approaches. FEMA has already deployed teams to Florida and Louisiana ahead of the storm to support state and local preparations, and is in close communication with Alabama and Mississippi and other southeastern states that could be impacted. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Warning for portions of Florida, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued for coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Following the briefing, the President spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott to make clear that the Administration, through FEMA, would continue to make resources available as necessary to support the state as the Governor’s team prepares for and responds to the storm. The President told the Governor the people of Florida are in his thoughts during this time. The President also told the governor to let him know if there are any unmet needs or additional resources the Administration could provide, including in support of efforts to ensure the safety of those visiting the state for the Republican National Convention.
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Governor Scott Cancels Tuesday Convention Related Activities to Monitor And Respond to Isaac Related Issues

August 26, 2012 - Press Release: Governor's Press Office

TALLAHASSEE – Today, Governor Scott announced that we would cancel his Tuesday activities related to the Republican National Convention in order to monitor and respond to issues related to Tropical Storm Isaac. Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to continue to impact Southwest Florida today before continuing into the Gulf of Mexico. Florida’s Emergency Officials encourage all Floridians to stay informed and finalize emergency preparations.

At 11am EDT Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was approximately 80 miles southeast of Key West, Florida. The official forecast takes Tropical Storm Isaac near or over the lower Florida Keys today and tonight and into the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Monday. Tropical storm force winds are already impacting the Keys and South Florida with hurricane conditions possibly arriving this afternoon. Additionally, there is a threat for severe weather including isolated tornadoes over much of Central and South Florida.

All Floridians should be closely monitoring this storm, and be prepared to act if necessary. Families and businesses can visit www.FloridaDisaster.org to build their emergency plan and learn about what to stock in the disaster supply kits, including water, food, medication, important papers and other essential items. Supplies should be able to sustain your family for up to 72 hours after a disaster.

For more information on preparation for and response to Tropical Storm Isaac, call the Florida Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557. Hearing-impaired persons may call the Florida Telecommunications Relay at 1-800-226-4329 to receive information and access TDD systems.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30. To GET A PLAN! visit www.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest information on the 2012 Hurricane Season, follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsert and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.
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Red Cross Workshop Prepares People for Possible Weather Related Emergencies

Tallahassee, Florida- August 25, 2012

Neighbors helping neighbors; that's the idea behind a workshop hosted by the Red Cross on Saturday.

"First responders may not be able to get to them for several days due to the impacts to our community, so we want them to help eachother in the aftermath of such a disaster," said Robby Powers, Tallahassee's Emergency Management Coordinator.

The goal is to prepare residents on how to handle and prepare for a weather related emergency, until help can arrive.

John Joyce, a Leon County resident said, "We've gone out with a survey and asked people, 'who's got a chain saw for instance? Who's got a generator? Who's got some kind of means we might be able to use?'"

Brad Harris, another Leon County neighbor added, "It's very important, especially in the early hours right after a storm, for neighbors to help one another and step up and clear those trees and shares resources."

Emergency officials set up real-life scenarios. They discussed action plans, including how to care for a handicap neighbor during an emergency.

Neighbors say they're taking steps to prepare for the worst.

"We have a family hurricane preparation kit," said Harris. "It's got four days worth of food, water, batteries, flash lights, those kind of things."

"Well we're a family," added Joyce. "When an emergency comes up, I think it's a time we all pull together and I think it makes a lot of difference."

Emergency officials say it's also crucial to have an emergency plan organized for your pets.


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