THOMASVILLE -- If traffic seemed a little more hectic than usual Saturday, the activity might be attributed to Hurricane Frances.

A number of Florida vehicles were in town, undoubtedly trying to outrun Hurricane Frances. Floridians dined at Thomasville restaurants and shopped in local stores.

Some RVs were set up in store parking lots. Others, about 15, were calling Deep South Exchange Cub Fairgrounds home for now. Others were at RV parks.

Local motels were full of evacuees.

Business was brisk, to say the least, at Publix midday Saturday. A large display of bottled water was positioned near the entrance. A Publix employee said people were stocking up on flashlights, batteries, candles -- and beer.

Some 2.5 million people were said to have evacuated Florida, but Georgia shelters statewide housed only about 300 people, said Chris Jones, Thomas County emergency management director.

Thomas County has no shelters, said Jones, adding that anyone needing shelter space is being sent to Colquitt County. Shelters there had only a handful of occupants.

A scheduled Saturday afternoon conference call between the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and Georgia counties was canceled.

Since the storm slowed down considerably, GEMA workers are preserving their energy for early this week when Frances gathers momentum and delivers torrential rain, high wind and the risk of tornadoes on the Peach State.

The slow-moving storm is expected to strike the Central Florida coast, travel across the Florida peninsula and assault the Florida Panhandle Monday in the form of a tropical depression.

The northbound traffic flow from Florida into Georgia has decreased to nearly normal. "All in all, we're in pretty good shape," Jones said Saturday afternoon.

Thomas County most likely will not be the victim of 105 mile per hour wind and 20 inches of rain, but the community is in for a strong storm.

Jones said sustained wind of 30 to 40 mph is predicted, along with 4 to 8 inches of rain during a 36-hour period.

Because Thomas County is on the eastern side of the hurricane eye, tornadoes are a threat.

Jones stressed the importance of battery-operated weather radios, which are available anywhere electronics are sold.

"You don't have to listen to the weather continuously," Jones said. "The radio emits an alert when there's a weather statement being broadcast that affects this area."

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