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Get ready now for Hurricane Michael

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — The National Weather Service (NWS) in Atlanta/Peachtree City is now predicting that Hurricane Michael, now a Category 1 and located near Cuba, could made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as early as Wednesday morning at Category 3.

Nigel Poole, Sumter County EMA director, met with local emergency response agencies Wednesday for a briefing with the NWS. He said the Americus area can expect between 3 and 7 inches of rainfall over a 24-hour period from sometime Wednesday into Thursday, and sustained winds of 50 to 55 mph. During Hurricane Irma, last year, emergency response was canceled at 40 mph. He said the two emergency shelters will be open Wednesday but urges people to arrive at them prior to the storms and not during or after.

With the rain and wind, trees can be expected to fall as well as power lines resulting in widespread power outages. Georgia Power has a toll-free line for reporting outages 888-891-0938 and a map is available at georgiapower.com

Poole said that those who rely on home oxygen should be making preparations now in case of power outage.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will open on Wednesday where officials will be tracking and the storm and updating the public. No state of emergency has yet been proclaimed by the Governor, but Poole said there might be a local designation prior to the Governor’s. Further updates will be available on the county’s emergency notification system — Code Red.

The NWS will hold another brie