Saturday, March 15, 2008

From Mayor Shirley Franklin:

Public Safety, Public Works, Watershed Management and Parks personnel continue to work diligently to return the City of Atlanta back to normal after severe weather ripped through a large portion of Atlanta, causing significant damage.

“On behalf of the City Council, I want to say we are thankful that we have had no reports of lives lost to this storm,” said Mayor Shirley Franklin. “I also want to praise the City’s emergency services personnel, public works and parks crews who have worked diligently throughout the night to ensure the safety of our citizens and visitors and clean dangerous debris from our streets.”

At daylight, officials began surveying the damage, and emergency services personnel continued their search for victims of the storm. Four Georgia Search and Rescue teams continue their search at the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts at 170 Boulevard. Personnel from the DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton, and Gwinnett fire departments make up this specialty team. DeKalb K-9 units are also assisting in the search.

City officials announced that the Washington Tennis Center and Natatorium, the Butler Park Recreation Center and Central Park are closed because of power outages.

Police are urging people to stay out of Downtown, as well as Vine City, Cabbagetown and the area around the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts, which were heavily damaged. “The best way people can help public safety today is to stay out of the affected areas and report downed power lines and trees,” said Assistant Chief Alan Dreher of the Atlanta Police Department.

“Officers and public safety officials from Atlanta, Fulton County, the Atlanta Housing Authority, Georgia Power, Georgia State Patrol, MARTA, GEMA and the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency have teamed up and are working with fire officials to mitigate this emergency,” said Fire Chief Kelvin Cochrane.

The current injury tally is approximately 30 people. The initial search indicates no one was trapped or killed in the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts.

Many homes in the Vine City and Cabbagetown communities have been damaged. The Red Cross (1-866-RC-HELPS) is assisting families that have been displaced.
Four teams of public safety and public works personnel are working severely affected area. More than 350 emergency services personnel, along with hundreds of other emergency workers and volunteers, are also helping.

Mayor Shirley Franklin has expressed the City's gratitude to the Rockdale and Fulton County Sheriff's Departments, the Georgia State Patrol, MARTA police, GEMA and the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency. There has been an outpouring of support from the military, private business and local governments, which are providing emergency supplies and support. Anyone wishing to donate to a disaster assistance fund can visit, and click on “Donate.”

City officials are keeping in close contact with the National Weather Service as another band of storms approaches from the west.

Lans Rothfusz of the National Weather Center says the center anticipates that line of storms to hit the City between 2 pm and 3 pm, potentially bringing more tornadoes, hail and high winds.
Mayor Franklin has signed a Declaration of Emergency and is asking Gov. Sonny Perdue to provide disaster assistance.
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