Wednesday, April 1, 2009

GEMA Opens State Operations Center in Response to Potential Flooding, Severe Weather

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) elevated its State Operations Center (SOC) to a Level 2 partial activation at 7 a.m. today in response to flooding caused by very heavy rainfall last weekend, overnight and today in parts of south Georgia.

“Some areas of Southwest Georgia have received as much as nine inches of rain within the last week and are expecting even more this week,” Governor Perdue said. “The state is already providing needed assistance to Georgians impacted by the severe weather and stands ready to meet additional needs that will certainly arise with the coming rains.”

Governor Perdue issued an executive order on Monday declaring a state of emergency in six counties affected by heavy rain and severe weather that passed through Georgia on Friday and Saturday. The counties are Baker, Colquitt, Miller, Tift, Turner and Worth. State assistance was made available after a determination was made that the recovery efforts far exceeded existing local capabilities.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reports steady rainfall since yesterday in these same counties and other areas of southwest and south-central Georgia. NWS forecasters also say much more rain may fall there between now and Friday, increasing the possibility of additional flooding.

In the SOC, emergency managers from various state agencies and volunteer and business organizations will coordinate the state's response to requests for assistance from local governments on a 24-hour basis for as long as necessary.

Representatives from the following agencies currently staff the SOC: American Red Cross, Business Executives for National Security, Department of Administrative Services, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Department of Human Resources, Department of Natural Resources, GEMA, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia State Patrol and The Salvation Army.

SOC staff will also maintain close contact with the NWS’ Southeast River Forecast Center in Peachtree City to monitor river levels across the state through the weekend.
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