Recent storms have Lowndes County supervisors looking closer at safety concerns.
Supervisors are considering the addition of a storm shelter at each of the Road Department”s five satellite barns and its central maintenance office, to protect the department”s 60 workers in the event of severe weather.
“They”re in these tin buildings, and they”re not real strong. If you get strong winds … there”s nowhere for them to go for safety.”
The county is exploring grant options for the project.
Also, Columbus-Lowndes County E-911 lost radio communication on May 28, when lightning struck its tower at 12:39 p.m.; 911”s primary radio system was down until about 8:30 p.m.
“We have backup radios, so we were able to still communicate …” said E-911 Director Sheri Fancher.
The lightning did not affect 911”s computer-aided dispatch system nor did it impact the phone lines.
“What”s happening is lightning is striking the tower and goes into the ground and has nowhere to go but 911,” said Lowndes County Sheriff Butch Howard, who serves on the E-911 board of commissioners.
“This is about our fourth lightning strike we”ve had … since ”08,” said Fancher.
The radio tower is located on the back of the Lowndes County Courthouse, where the E-911 office is based. E-911 is considering disassembling the tower and renting tower space, to keep from attracting lightning.
“The big tower is just bolted together,” Howard said. “It could come down piece by piece.”
“These storms are coming abruptly,” said District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks. “Sunday night, it stormed west of the river … We need to put this on the fast burner.”
Another emergency management project the county is working toward, is the addition of 15-20 storm sirens. As the county has grown, subdivisions have cropped up in areas where the current 25 sirens are not audible. (The city of Columbus has an additional five.) The county is seeking grants for the project, which County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said will be a $250,000-$300,000 project.
The Golden Triangle Regional Airport is one of the areas being considered for a storm siren. There currently s not one near there, and the airport lost a portion of its roof due 75 mph winds, last month.