Dozens Shelter At Savannah Civic Center

Sep 4, 2019

Some people who stayed in the Savannah area during Hurricane Dorian took shelter at the Savannah Civic Center Wednesday night. About 50 people were staying there as of 6 p.m.

Though local officials spent days urging residents to evacuate, Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach announced Wednesday afternoon that people in need of shelter would not be turned away. The city called it a "shelter of last resort."

The last buses for evacuees without their own transportation left Savannah Tuesday evening.

"Some people decided after the fact that they did not want to stay alone," Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell said. "We felt that it was our responsibility to provide a safe shelter for them as well."

Garden City resident Annamarie Powell was waiting to see what the storm would do until she learned she could go to the Civic Center.

"[We] took the opportunity, got it right here, so we were like, all right, I guess that's God's way of saying 'here you go, time to go now,'" she said.

Powell said trees around her house drop limbs during even minor storms, so she was worried about what a storm of Dorian's size and power could do.

Shawn Manning said he was grateful to the city for the shelter, though he wished it was more comfortable. The shelter, he said, was out of blankets.

"Hopefully they'll bring some more stuff for us to lay on or something," he said, pointing out the metal floor risers where people were spending the night. "This is cold. Real cold."

City Communications Director Nick Zoller said they were expecting a donation of more blankets.

"We're doing everything we can to keep everyone comfortable and warm," he said, stressing that the shelter was meant for people with nowhere else to go.

"Unfortunately, you're going to be in a seat that's not going to be super comfortable," Zoller said. "But it's gonna be super safe."