WALTON COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — After record-breaking rainfall and cresting on rivers and creeks, Walton County officials are using what they saw from Hurricane Sally to prepare for this upcoming storm season.
“We saw Sally as being a more lopsided storm,” said Walton County Emergency Management Director Jeff Goldberg. “So all the heavy weather was going to the east of it, and we were to the east of the eye.”
This year, Goldberg is tweaking plans to be better prepared.
“The use of drones, and unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Goldberg. “We brought in Florida State University’s Center for Disaster Risk Policy, we’ve had a long-term relationship with this organization and they brought their drone team in and they did some recon work for us.”
In the areas safety personnel could not access, search and rescue had to call in additional resources.
“We had to call in the National Guard High-Water Strike team,” said South Walton Fire District Fire Marshal Sammy Sanchez. “They don’t assemble immediately, they aren’t in our neighborhood, so it takes them a little bit to get here. And once they were here, we had personnel with them so they could go out and check on people and then have to relocate anybody that needed relocating.”
For future emergency high water situations, Goldberg said with the four new Grayton Beach shuttle vehicles, there are multiple uses.
“They can be used in an emergency for high-water rescue, so we’ve now got four vehicles that we have at our disposal,” he said.
“If you see things on our Facebook and our Twitter, forward them and retweet them and help get that word out,” said Goldberg.