Cities, utilities ready for Isaac

Published 11:09 pm Monday, August 27, 2012

City employees pull down the flag in front of city hall Monday as Isaac approaches.

City employees in Andalusia Monday took down banners and flags and picked up trash receptacles from the square, in anticipation of high winds tonight and tomorrow.

“We don’t want those trash containers being blown around,” Mayor Earl Johnson said.

The mayor also reminded those who have Tuesday morning garbage pick-up to get their hobos off the street as soon as possible today.

“The wind easily picks those up,” he said.

At Monday morning’s planning meeting, city officials decided it was too early to make a call on Wednesday morning’s garbage pick-up. Unless the storm moves east and causes more damage locally than expected, garbage pick-up will continue as usual.

Fire Chief Ethan Dorsey said firefighters have filled gas tanks and checked chainsaws in case they need to help cut trees from roadways.

Police Chief Wilbur Williams said his department will have extra personnel on duty tonight, when Covington County is expected to see the most severe weather. If projections move the storm more to the east, Williams said, The APD will stage its operations from Andalusia Regional Hospital.

In Opp, Mayor H.D. Edgar said the city was prepared.

“The only thing we are doing special (today) is that we are going to have umbrellas for the handicapped people, so they can get to the polling place,” he said.

Edgar said the city was confident in its utilities department.

“We have everything ready if we have outages,” he said. “We have generators scattered throughout the city. We don’t think it’s going to get that bad.”

At Covington Electric, employees have assignments and are in a wait and see mode, Ed Short said.

“We’ve got assignments ready and we know who covers what sub-stations,” Short said. From the sub-stations, he said, those employees are responsible for areas served by the sub-station.

CEC has crews lined up to come in and help restore power in the event that Covington County Isaac jobs back to the east and cause more damage than anticipated.

But on the flip side, CEC crews also are on standby to help other electrical systems restore power in the event that Covington County is spared problems and doesn’t lose power.

“We’d much rather go help people than be begging for people to help us,” Short said.

Jeff Puckett, manager of the electricity portion of Andalusia Utilities, said Monday morning that his crews also have been in preparation mode, and have been trimming limbs away from lines in right-of-ways to avoid outages if at all possible.

With the city’s new metering system, managers will know immediately when the power goes out in an area, Johnson, who asks as general manager of the utilities, said.

Nonetheless, plans are in place for a phone bank at city hall in the event that there are widespread outages.