Newton County is a lot of great things, but “tropical” is not one of them.
Still, we may have to prepare for a tropical storm as the remnants of Hurricane Irma — a monster storm churning in the Atlantic at week’s end — take aim at north Georgia.
The forecast track as of Friday afternoon showed the storm heading toward south Florida, then tracking into Georgia. If that holds, expect torrential rains and heavy winds like we rarely see in these parts.
Public safety officials in Covington and Newton County are to be commended for taking a proactive approach to Irma. They met Friday morning to map out a game plan for the possible flooding and wind damage we might see.
But, there’s only so much they can do. It’s incumbent on citizens to prepare for the storm too. Make sure you have nonperishable food, adequate sources of water and items like candles and batteries.
Let’s also resolve to pack an extra measure of patience. Store shelves began emptying of water on Thursday while lines at gas stations started to back up as people prepared. We’re all just trying to get through this together; short fuses won’t help anything.
Adding to the stress is the influx of evacuees from Florida and Coastal Georgia. Newton County will be home to many new residents for at least a few days and maybe a lot longer. They’ll need supplies, love and support as they adjust to a new reality back home in the wake of whatever Irma has wrought.
It’s hard to imagine the trauma of knowing a monster storm is taking aim at home and everything they know. When you see people out in our community who are evacuees, make sure to show you care, even if it’s just through a handshake, hug or word of support.
And speaking of support, don’t forget the victims of Hurricane Harvey. It was just a couple of weeks ago we watched it wreak havoc on the Texas Gulf Coast with unimaginable flooding in the Houston area. Already we’ve seen people here pour out their support by adopting a classroom, providing “flood buckets” through First United Methodist Church in Covington and donating cash and goods to other charities.
The need related to Harvey isn’t going away anytime soon, and in Irma’s wake there will be even more need — perhaps even right here at home. Getting through this is going to take sacrifice from all of us, but we’ll make it work.
Mother Nature is strong, but we’re pretty strong too.
Our Thoughts is the view of The Covington News’ editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher David Clemons and News Editor Jackie Gutknecht.