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Frances fans folks to McDuffie

McDuffie county residents experienced rain and winds along with some minor power outages, but damages from the outskirts of Hurricane Frances were minimal, officials said.

"Things are reasonably calm," said McDuffie County Manager Don Norton, who also serves as the local contact for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

"Trees are down and have taken out some power lines. The electric company is getting people back to service very quickly," he said Tuesday morning.

Jefferson Electric Cooperative reported widespread outages in its 11-county service area, which includes McDuffie County. About 1,600 customers were affected, and technicians began restoring power immediately.

The National Weather Service estimated an average of 1.5 inches of rain fell in the county during the 24-hour period. Localized areas in the eastern part of the county experienced up to 3 inches, said Tom Ardrey, hydrologist with the national weather service in Columbia, S.C.

In anticipation of the storm, which lumbered through Florida and headed north over the weekend, about 2.8 million Florida residents evacuated their homes. Some chose to come north and ended up in local motels such as The While Columns Inn in Thomson.

"We were completely booked going into the weekend," said Tony Hillman, front desk clerk. Some Florida residents had reserved their rooms six days in advance, planning well ahead to play it safe as the category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds slowly moved toward land. The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm, but still left damage behind when it rolled over central Florida.

By Tuesday morning, some White Column guests had headed home, but others chose to stay an extra day to avoid driving in the wind and rain.

County officials and aid workers were on stand by over the weekend, ready to help if needed. At a community meeting Friday, Fire Chief Bruce Tanner met with officials and went over plans to accommodate evacuees from Hurricane Frances. There are 14 Red Cross shelters in the county, and they were notified they might be opened if the need arose.

The county was prepared to spread word of the shelters through television and radio, and to feed and house evacuees. Officials even had plans in place to accommodate household pets in case hotels wouldn't allow them.



Web posted on Thursday, September 9, 2004


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Weather
Temperature:53° F
Conditions:overcast
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Humidity:100%
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01
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