Schools called off due to Katrina

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Area children will have to sit the school day out as county, city and private school systems administrators made the decision to cancel school today.

Responding to the threat of high winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Katrina, administrators made the decision after hearing that Dallas County will start feeling the effects of the storm at 8 a.m. this morning.

Dallas County Emergency Management Director Brett Howard said that the county would have an Emergency Operations Center established this morning, along with a shelter location for residents who need it to ride out the storm.

Howard said winds are expected to be sustained at 40-60 mph with rainfall anywhere from 3-8 inches.

Even those numbers aren’t entirely accurate, Howard said. According to him, the storm’s path has changed so much in so little time that Katrina can still hit closer or farther away from Dallas County.

“It still could move 30 to 40 miles east; it still could move 30 to 40 miles west,” he said.

Katrina is expected to hit New Orleans late tonight or early tomorrow morning, Howard said, as a Category 5 storm. By the time it gets to the Dallas County area, Katrina is still expected to be a Category 2 storm.

Current projects show the storm’s outer bands hitting Dallas County. If the path of the storm shifts east, then Dallas County can expect more bad weather, according to officials.

Even with the second storm of the year hitting Dallas County, Howard said residents were still lucky, especially compared with other storm victims.

“Mobile’s going to have catastrophic flooding,” he said. “There will be people dying (in Mobile).”

The EMA requested that all power outages be reported to service providers.

Howard said to call his office to report downed trees and power lines, however.

He said to only call 911 only in cases endangering human life.

As always, Howard said that residents should have flashlights, water and canned food.

Important numbers:

EDA: 874-2515

To report outages:

Alabama Power: 1-800-888-2726

Pioneer Electric: 875-2223

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative: 1-800-619-5460 or 1-800-545-5735.