Tropical Storm Karen an Untimely Visitor for Washington and Holmes Counties

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Bonifay- Crowds, tents, horses and tropical storm force winds simply don't mix. Despite a potential hit from tropical storm Karen, people and live stock were still showing up for the annual Bonifay Rodeo.

"If the storm should come in- with the people who refuse to move with their tents- we will open up a shelter" Holmes County Emergency Management Director, Wanda Stafford said.

But officials admitted they couldn't accommodate a capacity crowd of 20,000 people.

"No..... Well, no. But, if the storm should come this way, the attendance will be down" Stafford said.

She also explained that they would not need to house 20,000 people, explaining, locals could go home and some visitors could stay in hotels.

But what about the animals? "With some local ranchers- in their roping pins" she answered.

Washington County officials had other worries.They still had a lot of heavily damaged roads that were washed-out by the flooding events in July and August.

They were closely watching Karen to see how much rain she would likely deliver.

Washington County Public Safety Director, Lynne Abel explained the situation:

"A little bit of rain at this point, a little bit of sprinkling and that kind of thing- that's not going to hurt us that bad. But, torrential rain- a lot of heavy rain, that's going to set us back again.

While there's not as much rain expected as there was July 4, Abel said the area couldn't stand much more.

"There's a possibility of four to eight inches, and in some places even higher. Going in to the possibility of yet another rain event that could be pretty substantial- would undo again all of the work that's already been done" she said.

Local officials were also worried about a smaller FEMA staff, due to the government shutdown. They said it may slow-down any federal response.


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