Important travel information from ALDOT for those traveling to Florida and Georgia after Hurricane Irma…..

The following Press Release is from ALDOT it contains great messaging information to help our FL friends return home when it’s safe to do so.


Posted at 8:25 a.m. on 9-12-2017


September 11, 2017


Important Information from the Alabama Department of Transportation

MONTGOMERY – As the remnants of Hurricane Irma move through Alabama with tropical storm strength, the Alabama Department of Transportation is ramping up efforts with state and local law enforcement to conduct the state’s largest ever movement of evacuee traffic returning to Florida and Georgia.

Up to 500,000 vehicles carrying evacuees are expected to return to Florida and Georgia through some part of Alabama, either from sheltering in north or central Alabama or even further north, or as far west as Mississippi.

State officials are preaching safety and patience as hundreds of thousands of evacuees have begun moving south and east in a process that will take several days because of heavy traffic volumes and because workers are still working to clear some areas for safe re-entry.

ALDOT officials urge travelers to spread traffic loads across all available southbound and eastbound routes rather than overloading major routes such as U.S. 231, Interstate 65 and Interstate 10.

ALDOT is implementing proactive steps to maintain maximum efficiency along major southbound and eastbound roadways. Along U.S. 231 from Troy to Dothan, ALDOT will be working with local officials to adjust traffic signals to give as much priority time as possible to southbound evacuee and relief convoy traffic. In Mobile, officials are prepared to divert eastbound Interstate 10 truck traffic around the Wallace Tunnel in an effort to reduce congestion.

Despite efforts to minimize traffic back-ups, ALDOT officials advise that drivers should expect congestion as state, U.S. and interstate highways into Florida and Georgia will be used by residents returning home and convoys of personnel and resources to aid in hurricane recovery.

Over the next few days, ALDOT personnel will be working to clear debris from state, U.S. and interstate highways and to repair damage to roadway infrastructure.

ALDOT’s priority is to safely deploy crews to assess damage, clear debris and make repairs that may be necessary to roads, bridges, signs and traffic signals. ALDOT is maintaining a presence at the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate transportation-related response with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other state and local response agencies.

After responding to roadway and bridge priorities caused by Irma, ALDOT is preparing to mobilize personnel, trucks and resources to assist the Florida Department of Transportation with emergency recovery needs. Those response missions will be coordinated between the two states.

ALDOT is emphasizing the following key messages in the wake of Irma:

  • Local traffic should be prepared for delays and congestion on major southbound and eastbound roadways, and should allow extra travel time for their routine commuting;
  • Expect congestion and heavy traffic volumes from relief convoys heading to areas affected by Irma and from evacuees returning home;
  • Evacuees are urged to wait for weather and roadway conditions to improve before returning home, and should confirm that Florida officials have cleared their local areas for safe re-entry;
  • Florida officials are recommending the use of and, along with @FLHSMV and @MyFDOT on Twitter, to help evacuees plan their return travel;
  • ALDOT crews will work to clear debris from state, U.S. and interstate highways to restore traffic flow for emergency relief-related and routine travel;
  • ALDOT crews will work to repair damage to roadways, bridges, signs and traffic signals as quickly as possible; and
  • Crews will be working at all hours, so please be patient with recovery efforts and be watchful for first responders, highway repair crews, and utility workers on roadways and rights-of-way.

Motorists can find Alabama traffic and road condition information at or by downloading the ALGO Traffic app.

ALDOT’s mission is to provide a safe, efficient, environmentally sound transportation network across Alabama. For further information, visit


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President Trump Approves Governor Ivey’s Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration



DANIEL SPARKMAN – (334) 242-7150 |

President Trump Approves Governor Ivey’s Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration


MONTGOMERY – President Donald J. Trump on Monday approved Governor Kay Ivey’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the State of Alabama. The President declared that an emergency exists in the State of Alabama and ordered Federal assistance to supplement existing response efforts due to emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irma beginning on September 8, 2017, and continuing.

Governor Ivey, during a phone call with the President Sunday, requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to assist the State of Alabama in Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

“In a phone call on Sunday, President Donald Trump promised me that he ‘had Alabama’s back’ and in approving our request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the President has proven to be a man of his word,” Governor Ivey said. “He and his team are doing a tremendous job managing this disaster in several states, and I am thankful for their hard work on behalf of Alabama, and their willingness to quickly approve our request.”

The Emergency Declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. The Federal assistance will help alleviate the tremendous task of local relief efforts. It will also provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures authorized under title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property, and ensure public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in 67 counties and the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe in the State of Alabama.

FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Warren J. Riley as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.



Elmore County Safer Places scheduled to open on Monday

Check-out what is trending with the Safer Places locations that will be opening on Monday for Elmore County Citizens due to Hurricane Irma. Go to the Elmore County Website: Safer Places Map tab on the right side of the home page or Google: Elmore County Safer Places

They will be GREEN when open

  Safer Place Address City Alabama Zip Code
1 Deatsville Fire Department 6930 AL Hwy 143 Deatsville Alabama 36022
2 Old County Courthouse 100 East Commerce Street Wetumpka Alabama 36092
3 Redland Baptist Church 1266 Dozier Road Wetumpka Alabama 36093
4 Town of Eclectic – First Baptist  203 Claud Road Eclectic Alabama 36024
5 Town of Eclectic Courtroom 145 Main Street Eclectic Alabama 36024
6 City of Tallassee – City Hall 3 Freeman Avenue Tallassee Alabama 36078
7 City of Tallassee – Police Dept. 214 Barnett Blvd Tallassee Alabama 36078
8 Town of Elmore – FD Station 2 363 Baltzer Road Elmore Alabama 36025
9 Town of Elmore – Penny Parkway 212 Penny Parkway Elmore Alabama 36025
10 Town of Elmore – Hwy 143 1245 Highway 143 Elmore Alabama 36025
11 Millbrook Baptist Church 3431 Brown’s Road Millbrook Alabama 36054
12 Coosada Town Hall 5800 Coosada Road Coosada Alabama 36020
13 St. James Family Worship 1005 Nobles Road Wetumpka Alabama 36092
14 Shoal Creek Baptist Church 13214 Holtville Road Deatsville Alabama 36022



Hotel and Shelter Information for Hurricane Irma Evacuees

As of 8:30, 9/9/2017

The Alabama Tourism Agency is tracking hotel availability. Evacuees can call 800-ALA-BAMA (800-252-2262) for the latest information or they can chat live with a Tourism Representative at  

For Evacuee Shelter Locations Statewide Call: 211

This is a link to the latest information we have received from the American Red Cross, local officials and others regarding shelters that are available.

State Park information: For overnight availability at Alabama State Parks

Sheltering of livestock animals: The State Department of Agriculture has opened Garrett Coliseum for an animal shelter for animals that were being moved out of the storm path.

FEMA Advisory on How to Help Disaster Survivors in Texas…..

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Intergovernmental Affairs Division

Telephone 202-646-3444

Intergovernmental Affairs Advisory



August 29, 2017

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than during and after a disaster. It is individuals, non-profits, faith- and community-based organizations, private sector partners, and governmental agencies working together that will most effectively and efficiently help survivors cope with the impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Please follow a few important guidelines below to ensure your support can be the most helpful for Tropical Storm Harvey disaster survivors.


The most effective way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations.

Cash donations offer voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster.

Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. When used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

Donate through a trusted organization.  At the national level, many voluntary-, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. Individuals, corporations, and volunteers, can learn more about how to help on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website.

In addition to the national members, The Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors.  Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.


The State of Texas is asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders.

The National VOAD has also noted the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.

To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification.

At this time, potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas and supporting survivors on the ground.

The National and Texas VOAD websites are offering links to those who wish to register to volunteer with community- and faith-based organizations working in the field.

Most importantly, please be patient. Although the need is great, and desire to help strong, it is important to avoid donating material goods or self-deploying to help until communities are safe and public officials and disaster relief organizations have had an opportunity to assess the damage and identify what the specific unmet needs are.

Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery lasts much longer than today. There will be volunteer needs for many months, and years, after the disaster, so sign up now.

Tropical Storm Harvey is still dangerous, with the potential to impact additional areas of Texas and Louisiana. As the situation changes, needs may also change in these areas. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels to learn more.




Labor Day Weekend is a CoCoRaHS Field Photo Weekend!

“Field Photo Weekend” September 2 – 4, 2017 . . . Celebrate the long Labor Day weekend by taking a few photos!

Here’s your chance to join hundreds of other CoCoRaHS observers to see what our landscapes look like as we pay tribute to the nations working class.

For the past 5 years, SCIPP, CoCoRaHS, and the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility have conducted a “Field Photos Weekend” project to create a national picture of our landscape. The project started out as a way to compare visual impacts of drought to the kinds of things we measure, like rainfall and stream flow. But the photos of places that are not in drought can be equally valuable, providing a frame of reference for future years and seasons.

For each Field Photos Weekend, we asked CoCoRaHS observers and other citizen scientists to take pictures of the land around them – water bodies, fields, forests, or any other facet of our environment – at roughly the same time. These events began with Labor Day Weekend in 2012 and have continued over Presidents Day and Memorial Day ever since.

What we do with your photos

Photos are stored in the EOMF Field Photos Archive along with all the other photos received from researchers, field projects, and citizen scientists. All of these photos are valuable in trying to figure out how the landscape responds to both sudden and gradual changes in climate, water, ecology and even geology.

For the Field Photo Weekends project, photos are tagged in the notes section with #CoCoRaHSMmmyy (mmm=month and yy=year, for example may14). You can search the archive by keyword such as #CoCoRaHSSep17 to see all the photos that were submitted last Presidents Day weekend.

Taking Photos

So what makes a good picture for a project like this? Photos should tell the story of the field or landscape, anything that you feel is representative of the world around you. Just as you do not find the deepest snowdrift for your snowfall measurements, you should not find the vegetation that is in the worst condition for your pictures. We want to see what it may look like walking through a field, where some things may be in better condition than others.

Photos can be of any of the following:

• A water body, showing how much water it is currently holding and where the natural bank might be. For example, a farm pond showing    the ring of bare soil around it that is usually submerged

• A tree, showing the health of its leaves. It may be a tree in your front yard, one in a nearby park, or something over in the woods,        whatever you think tells the story about how it is faring this year.

• A field, such as a pasture, meadow, or crops. The photo should show whether vegetation is brown or green, if soil is becoming exposed,    if seeds are burnt up, or if vines are withering.

• A typical scene showing the depth of snow, maybe a meadow, nearby hill, or looking up at the mountains. Be sure to add comments    telling us whether the snow is more than or less than usual for this time of year.

• A panorama, or series of pictures from a single spot looking in each direction (north, east, south, and west – and down!). The panorama   is a good way to get a “big picture” of the land around you, especially if you think you might participate in another Field Photos    Weekend in the future. Be sure to pick somewhere that is nearby but fairly open. A bunch of houses will not tell us about how wet or dry  it is.

What you need to participate

All you need is a camera. Any old camera will do, but if you have a camera with GPS capability or a smartphone, that would be even better.

If you are using a SmartPhone or GPS camera, make sure “location services” is turned on. This will automatically encode the picture’s latitude, longitude and direction you are looking. To turn on location services, go to your phone’s settings and you should see “Location Services” in the menu. When you select this, you will get a list of applications that use location services, each with an on/off switch. Make sure camera and compass are both turned on. If you feel better not having your phone know where you are, you can turn these off again after taking the pictures. The embedded latitude and longitude will help us from having to estimate from a map.

Submitting your photos

There are three ways to contribute to the project:

1. Upload your photos with the EOMF iPhone app or Android app.

2. Upload your photos directly to the EOMF Photo Archive.

3. Email them to us at

If you upload the photos yourself, please add #CCoCoRaHSSep17 to any photos in the Field Notes section so we can identify those related to this project. If you email them to us, we do need a little information from you so that we can place them properly on a map:

1. Description of where the photo was taken, as detailed as possible. For example, northwest corner of Highway 9 and Jenkins in Norman, Oklahoma, looking west.

2. The date the photo was taken

3. If you are a CoCoRaHS observer, your CoCoRaHS station number (we want to give due credit!)

If you prefer to upload and manage your photos directly, visit the EOMF website and register for an account. This will let you set privacy settings, edit your photos to provide additional detail, or upload other photos from other locations or times of the year. The more photos that are in the EOMF archive, the better will be our ability to ground-truth all of the weather and environmental data that we collect.

Note that your name or e-mail address will not appear with the photos or on any website. SCIPP will provide a list of those who contributed to CoCoRaHS and will not maintain any records themselves. So your e-mail is safe.


If you have questions along the way, please e-mail SCIPP at SCIPP will help clarify any questions about taking, uploading or viewing photos.

We want this to be a fun experience for everyone and give everyone a chance to see what it looks like near where we all take our observations each day. We hope that you will be as excited about participating as we are in hosting this.


Click for CoCoRaHS Website

Solar Eclipse – Monday, August 21, “Are you ready Elmore County”?

Are you prepared for next Monday, August 21’s solar eclipse?

You would think everyone knows not to stare directly at the sun without specially “approved” solar glasses, viewers or other solar filters during a partially eclipsed sun, there are still many people who are not aware of this. NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse check the safety authenticity of viewing glasses to ensure they meet basic safe viewing standards.

NASA recommends the following safe viewing information

  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
  • Do Not use homemade filters
  • Glasses should not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses

Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

NASA offers an alternative method for safely viewing the partially-eclipsed sun by using a pinhole projector. This method streams the sunlight through a small hole, such as a pencil hole in a piece of cardboard or paper, onto a makeshift screen, i.e., a piece of paper or the ground. It is extremely important that people only watch the screen and not the sun directly. Even looking at the sun through the pinhole is not safe.

Don’t want to risk it?  Well, NASA TV will offer a special live four-hour program, “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA” with real-time coverage of the event from coast to coast. This program will include images of the eclipse from numerous spacecraft, including the International Space Station, high-altitude aircraft and balloons, and ground observations. The broadcast will also include live coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media. To watch the Aug. 21 NASA TV eclipse broadcast online and access interactive web content and views of the eclipse from these assets,

Click here to view the eclipse courtesy of NASA

More Eclipse – Safety Information

Use extreme caution driving in heavy rainfall- Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Turn Around Don’t Drown®

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.