Three-year-old Ella Ellis, left, peeks out the window of APD fire engine No. 7 along with her cousin Mary Madison Greene, 4, while checking out the emergency vehicles outside the RiverQuarium during the Albany and Dougherty County Flood and Severe Weather Preparedness Fair Saturday.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Superstorm Sandy skipped Georgia and wrecked areas of New Jersey and New York, but emergency authorities cautioned that preparation for severe weather remains a necessity.
The Albany and Dougherty County Flood and Severe Weather Preparedness fair Saturday featured outdoor equipment displays at the RiverQuarioum parking lot and indoor exhibits at the Thronateeska Science Museum.
Andi Bowen came to the fair from Fitzgerald with her boys, Sam, Will and Ben. Same volunteered at the fair as part of his Boy Scout work on a merit badge involving emergency response to severe weather.
"This is really good they are having this here. It tells us how terrible it would be to be caught off guard," Bowen said. "I was in college in Americus in 1994 and had relatives in Albany. I hope it doesn't happen again."
The floodwaters of 1994 put many an Albany resident's home under water and the event is not forgotten.
"This hurricane missed us, but we can still get tornadoes and storms," Bowen said. "I hope we don't get a flood again. If we do it is good to know what we can do to prepare."
The information available at the fair was nearly as overwhelming as a flood. Pamphlets, books and other printed handouts poured over display tables, while slide and video shows caught viewers attention.
Although the free event wasn't as well attended as hoped, Jim Vaught, deputy director of the Albany Dougherty County Emergency Management Agency said it would be presented again.
"We'll have it again," Vaught said. "It was just the first year."
One of the exhibits that captured the interest of children and adults sat on a table and illustrated a flood situation using a 4-foot-long model with clear-plastic walls and a river running through the landscape.
When Joel Lanier, a senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service, poured a pitcher of water on the model top, tiny holes took the water and distributed it as if it were rain.
The rain fell on a model parking lot, discharged from the impervious surface to the river and washed away Monopoly-game-sized homes from land and carried them down river.
The model could be changed so that the difference between a swamp, imitated by sponges and a retaining pond, with higher berms than the parking lot, could also be used to show the effects of rain.
Not wanting anyone to miss an oncoming storm so they could prepare, Vaught promoted the CodeRED system for the city and Dougherty County. CodeRED is a free system whereby residents can be warned on their land phone or cell phones about coming extreme weather.
It can be accessed by going to the Albany website albany.ga.us.
Other agencies participating in the fair included the Marine Corps Logistic Base-Albany police, the Albany Fire Department, Albany Dougherty Search and Rescue Squad, Albany Planning and Development Services and others.