County Still Recovering From Tuesday’s StormApr 7th, 2011 | By Staff | Category: Front Page
In the early morning hours on Tuesday Madison County and hundreds of other counties across the southeast, were hit by a violent storm system. The storm began to effect Madison at about 4 a.m. and did not see a break until almost 6:30 a.m. Wind gusts upwards of 50 mph were reported, rain ravaged the streets, some even reported hearing tornados, though none of these claims have been confirmed.
Tri-County Electric reported that approximately 2000 homes, mostly in Cherry Lake, were left without power following the storm. As of press time Thursday there were only two homes in Madison that remained without power. Progress Energy reported that almost 1100 of their Madison customers had reported losing power; they serve a total of 3700 in the county.
Pinetta Elementary School did not have power on Tuesday morning, but decided not to cancel class this close to FCAT. They overcame the lack of power by opening the blinds and using window light to light the classrooms. Lee Elementary School was without power until 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. However, despite the lack of electricity the teachers hunkered down and continued to do lessons. They, like Pinetta, used window light to light the classrooms, and several classes rearranged to get closer to the windows. Principle Jack McClellan stated of the teacher’s response to the storm, “They went above the call of duty, they had a hardship and could have used it as a chance to coast but they continued teaching, and quality teaching at that. They didn’t have any technology that they could use, so they went to the old school way of teaching. They were great.”
Dorothy McKinney, of Greene Publishing, Inc., told this reporter, “We were without power for two days. It wasn’t fun, especially since we live out in the boonies. That means we had no water, no air conditioner and no heat. Which was awful because I am always cold, so I nearly froze during the night. I am really glad we finally have power again.”
Valdosta Highway, Rocky Ford, State Road 53 and several other major roads in the county were covered with debris. Though much of the destruction has been cleaned up, the bike trail along Valdosta Highway is still covered with overturned trees and huge limbs.
In order to be better prepared for storms such as this, all homes should keep emergency kits. These should contain bottled water, batteries, a battery operated radio and nonperishable food items. Other tips for keeping safe during large storms include avoid being outdoors or driving if weather conditions are dangerous. Stay in rooms in your home that have few or no windows such as a bathroom or a hallway. Pet owners should also remember to bring all pets indoors so that they are safe during the storm.