Ashley Tye remarked:
The good news is that there were no reported injuries or no loss of life.There was a lot of property damage. He said the National Weather Service determined it was an F2 tornado, and once it got to Walker’s Crossing it had winds of about 100 miles an hour. He said 34 homes were affected, of which 19 were destroyed, meaning uninhabitable.
He’s checking types of assistance that might be available.
Unfortunately, financial assistance is unavailable; it requires a federal declaration. And while the level of damage is obviously devastating to us in Lowndes County, it didn’t reach the level that would meet the threshold that would cause the governor to request a federal declaration.He said there had been a tremendous outpouring of volunteer support. And insurance might pay off, although some people may not have enough insurance.
He added that the county’s code red emergency system worked well, and probably had something to do with there being no loss of life. I know I got at least six county code red messages that day before my message box filled up (I was in a building with no signal).
Commissioner Richard Raines asked if FEMA had to have a declaration for GEMA to respond. Ashley Tye answered:
To kind of give you an idea of how the structure works. When our resources are overwhelmed, we can; I’m kind of the liaison between GEMA; I’ll get with the Chairman and Mr. Pritchard…. GEMA is usually pretty proactive; they’ll call us and ask us what we need. Unfortunately all GEMA brings is resources. So if we would have gotten a declaration; say the governor had declared a state of emergency, all that does is free up any state resources, not financial. Like visible equipment.So without a declaration of disaster so the governor could ask for FEMA assistance, there’s no government financial assistance available.
Commissioner Raines dismissed the 14% of people who were not reached by Code Red, even though he voted against the NOAA Weather Radios that might have reached some of them.
Ashley Tye said he and his staff were working on reviewing what had been done and what could be done better.
Here’s the video:
Tornado report —Ashley Tye @ LCC 2012-03-12
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 12 March 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.