MOULTRIE -- Even though reports as of press time have Hurricane Katrina moving off into Mississippi and Louisiana, local emergency teams are at the ready if the rains takes a turn back toward Colquitt County.

Katrina, already a Category 2, could possibly reach up to a Category 4 storm bringing with it tons of rain. Some area residents already have experienced the power of water, and the flood Dennis brought with it last month is still fresh in the minds of victims and emergency workers.

"Emergency services are ready. We're gearing up and standing by," Colquitt County Emergency Management Agency Director Russell Moody said Friday afternoon. "We're still not out of the woods yet. We need to be aware,"

"It's just the type of thing we're going to have to monitor. ... It's just early. It's going to depend when it makes its turn if it's going to mean anything for us. If it turns sooner, obviously, we're going to have some problems. If it waits until later, it could go into the Mississippi area," Moody said. "The problem is it's moving forward at such a slow speed."

Colquitt County American Red Cross volunteers also are on standby, Executive Director Helen Sewell said.

If need arises, the First Baptist Church in Moultrie on South Main Street will be the first emergency shelter to open, Sewell said. People in need of shelter should call 911 and will roll over calls to the county Emergency Operations Center if it opens.

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