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Fay brings rain, tornado warnings to Bulloch Friday

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Posted: August 22, 2008 9:26 p.m.
Updated: September 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Fay brings rain, tornado warnings to Bulloch Friday

Eric Edwards fishes along the sea wall under the Fuller Warren Bridge and the Northbank Riverwalk, Friday, Aug. 22, 2008 in Jacksonville, Fla., as Tropical Storm Fay floods the area. Tropical Storm Fay hobbled across Florida for a fifth day Friday as the state's death toll rose to five, while residents began plodding through muddy water to assess the flood damage to their homes.


    Bulloch County students spent more time in the hallways than in classrooms Friday due to a number of tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
    Fortunately, however, no twisters touched down in the area, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
    Bulloch County School Assistant Superintendent Charles Wilson said area principals followed protocol and sent students to safety Friday each time the Georgia Emergency Management Agency issued a tornado warning for the county.
    There were three warnings during the day Friday, he said. Regardless of which part of the county was under the  most danger, principals followed safety procedure and kept students in the safety of the halls until each warning expired, he said.
    Wynn said the weather service issued warnings based upon the "rapid movement" of the clouds, which indicated the possibility of a tornado forming. "The National Weather Service erred on the side of caution," he said.
    One warning occurred around 9 a.m., the other was around noon and the third was around 2:30 p.m. and afterwards, when school was letting out, Wilson said.
    Students were kept inside and buses ran late, but parents who wanted to pick their children up during the warning were allowed to do so, he said.
    National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Morales said at 5:30 p.m. Friday that the danger of tornadoes was waning and would likely be diminished significantly by Friday evening.
    "It looks like things are kind of winding down," he said. Tropical Storm Fay was moving westward and while rainfall is expected through the weekend, the danger of heavy winds and tornadoes is expected to end, he said.
    While NWS officials had a report of a tornado possibly touching down near the Register/Pulaski area, Wynn said his office had no reports of such activity.
    During weather like the area experienced Friday, it is difficult to confirm possible tornadic activity, Morales said. Warnings were issued whenever there was a possibility that a tornado was forming, but in conditions like there were Friday, the tornadoes are "very small, very fast and very hard to confirm," he said.
    No damage from the storm was reported at all save one tree down on Debbie Drive in Statesboro, he said. The tree downed a power line, but nothing else was damaged.
    There was some minor flash flooding in some city streets, but the danger was short-lived. However, during the worst parts of the storm, when rainfall was at its heaviest, there were a  number of automobile wrecks, Wynn said.
    Bulloch County Central 911 operators counted five crashes within one 60-minute period, he said.
    Before noon, a Statesboro Police officer switched on blue lights to  warn drivers of water puddled near the railroad tracks on U.S. 301 North near Matthews Road. There were similar situations with water on the roadway reported elsewhere in the city during the downpour.
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