MONROE – Walton Electric Membership Corporation's (EMC) 10 county service area is a long way from the coast, but the possibility of significant impacts from Hurricane Irma is growing stronger.
In a briefing today, Meteorologist Jason Deese of the National Weather Service in Atlanta warned that whether Irma goes east, west or straight up the spine of Florida, Georgia is going to experience strong winds. Strong winds coupled with saturated soils will cause large numbers of trees to topple.
"That's [strong wind] pretty much a guarantee, so we could be looking at significant power outages," said Deese. "Please prepare now." "Walton EMC urges all electric customer-owners to prepare now before Irma reaches our area," said Greg Brooks, community and public relations director. "If you wait until the bad weather starts, it's too late."
Check these areas to see if you're ready:
Have a contingency plan in place for patients who have a medical necessity for electricity. This can include backup power, extra supplies or an alternate location until the outage is over.
Secure flashlights, battery-powered lanterns, and extra batteries. Avoid light sources that require a flame or fire.
If you depend on a well, fill bathtubs or other large containers for household use, like flushing toilets. Stock up on drinking water. If you have livestock or poultry, secure a standby generator to run the well.
If you're on a community water system, listen for advisories to boil water in case water treatment plants are affected.
Have a licensed electrician properly install a backup generator and obtain a fuel supply to run it. Buy an external power pack or car charger for your cell phone and an extra battery for your laptop. A power inverter allows you to run your laptop from your car's cigarette lighter.
Nonperishable foods that don't need cooking are ideal, like can fruit, powdered milk, peanut butter, trail mix, bread, and crackers. Don't forget a manual can opener.
Get a portable radio with extra batteries for local information and a NOAA Weather Radio for weather warnings.
Have adequate supplies of prescription drugs and a first aid kit on hand.
Have some extra cash.
For background information on power outages and the status of outages, log on to waltonemc.com and click on "Storm Center."
Walton EMC is a customer-owned power company that serves 127,000 accounts over its ten-county service area between Atlanta and Athens.