Damage is minimal in Escambia

Published 4:20 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2005

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
It was another near miss for Escambia County (Ala.) as Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane - the fourth biggest hurricane to hit the United States.
In Brewton and surrounding areas in the county, the American Red Cross opened shelters on Sunday at 8 a.m. to as many as 40 evacuees. Refugee centers were also housing victims of Hurricane Katrina from areas including Mississippi and Louisiana.
According to Escambia County EMA director David Jennings, the reason for the early-morning openings was due for two reasons. He said they waited to open to be sure travel conditions were safe for victims fleeing from Katrina. Also, knowing shelters would probably fill up quickly from the travelers, officials also wanted to make sure that there would be enough to house local victims if necessary.
Jennings also reported that there was very little infrastructure and residential damage.
There appeared to be concerns about the lack of countywide meetings. Typically, county meetings take place hourly, and due to the path of the hurricane, it did not call for mandatory meetings, Jennings said.
Jennings said that had county officials needed to meet, they could have mobilized quickly enough.
He said that the wind lasted a little bit longer than they had expected, but the rain "did exactly what we thought it would do." There was no official status on wind speeds in this county.
Flooding, Jennings said, never appeared to be a threat, but flash flooding was a possibility. In all, Jennings added, communication was key and there was good communication throughout the county.
BFI-Allied Waste announced on Tuesday that all routes in residential, commercial and roll off will run on a schedule that is one day behind the regular schedule. For example, Monday routes will run on Tuesday, and Tuesday routes will run on Wednesday. The regular schedule will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 9 running Friday routes. This will also include Labor Day Weekend.
Cannon's Carpets is also collecting money for Salvation Army Star Relief.
Jennings said that he tossed and turned a majority of the night worrying about neighboring states and the problems they have received as a result of Hurricane Katrina's destructive path.

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