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Lowndes County Emergency Management Updates Community on Hurricane Idalia

Lowndes County Emergency Management continues to monitor and prepare for Hurricane Idalia. According to the Tallahassee Division of the National Weather Service, Hurricane Idalia is forecasted to strengthen into a major category 3 Hurricane with sustained winds of 115 mph and maintain major strength until it makes landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Based on the current track, the main threat is wind for Lowndes County. Our area will begin experiencing Tropical Storm conditions early Wednesday morning, existing our community by Wednesday evening. Lowndes County will most likely experience power outages as the storm moves through, and the extent of the damage will determine how long it takes to restore utilities.  Utility crews will not be able to begin work until winds drop below the threshold for them to operate safely.  Citizens should anticipate and be prepared to deal with extended power outages.

Citizens residing in substandard housing or mobile homes should make plans today with regards to sheltering tomorrow.  Be a good neighbor and consider offering friends, family, or neighbors a place to stay during periods of inclement weather.  Public shelters will be considered in the event residents are displaced after the storm.  Currently, existing shelters have not reached capacity.

The current forecast indicates approximately four to six inches of rain throughout the storm across most of the County. With the heavy rainfall, stormwater infrastructure may be temporarily overwhelmed, causing localized flooding of roads, streets, and bridges. Water over the road may conceal hazards such as infrastructure damage. Motorists are encouraged to shelter in place during periods of heavy rain. As little as six inches of water can stall a vehicle or cause the driver to lose control. Locations of water over a roadway or bridge should be reported by calling 911.

Just as local governments are preparing public infrastructure for impact, citizens are encouraged to take steps necessary to protect homes and businesses. Current recommendations are as follows:

  • Sign up for CodeRed, Lowndes County’s free emergency notification system by visiting https://www.lowndescounty.com/148/CodeRED.
  • Have an emergency plan in place, for preparedness tips, visit https://gema.georgia.gov/plan-prepare.
  • Make sure you have an emergency supply kit prepared. For a complete list of items and additional information, visit www.ready.gov/kit.
  • Remember to only call 911 for emergencies and not weather updates.
  • Those in our community who have sheltered from severe weather in the past should make plans for shelter now. While public shelters will be available if needed, citizens are usually more comfortable sheltering with friends and family. Do not wait until the last minute to start looking for a place to shelter.
  • Pet owners who may need to relocate to a shelter should make alternate plans for their pets. While some shelters may be pet-friendly, there is no guarantee that pet-friendly shelter space will be available. In addition, local ordinances require pets to be properly cared for during periods of severe weather. Pets must be provided adequate shelter that allows them to stay dry and out of the weather.
  • Update emergency contact lists to include key friends, family, or others to include service providers.
  • Make sure your home/business is free of items that could become flying debris during a strong storm. Pay close attention to patio furniture and trampolines. Citizens are encouraged to disassemble trampolines to the extent that they cannot become airborne. Trim any trees/limbs that could cause damage to property. Please remember that local governments cannot perform work on private property.
  • Generators should be tested and fueled prior to power outages.
  • If you or someone you are responsible for are dependent upon electricity for any life-sustaining measures such as oxygen, medical equipment, etc., and do not have a backup power source available, plan now for an alternative solution.
  • Keep debris out of nearby storm drains and ditches.
  • Report clogged ditches and culverts.
  • Lowndes County, unincorporated area: Lowndes County Public Works: 229-671-2700
  • City of Valdosta residents: Stormwater Division: 229-259-3530
  • Secure outdoor items/furniture to prevent potential blockages.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.

City of Valdosta Updates:

To prepare for large storms, homeowners can protect their property by:

  • Keeping debris out of nearby storm drains and ditches.
  • Reporting clogged ditches and culverts to the Stormwater Division.
  • Secure outdoor items/furniture to prevent potential blockages.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Contact the Stormwater Division at 229-259-3530 to report blocked storm drains or flooding issues within the city limits.

In the event of an emergency, please dial 911. However, please do not call 911 for weather information, traffic updates, road closures, etc. This information will be available through local media outlets, social media, Lowndes County’s website, www.lowndescounty.com, and the City of Valdosta’s website www.valdostacity.com and follow EMA Lowndes on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LowndesEMA.

We encourage all Lowndes County residents to follow a few links that will provide the most up-to-date information for our area during Hurricane Idalia:

Hurricane Season runs through November 30, 2023.  Citizens are encouraged to sign up for CodeRed, Lowndes County’s free emergency notification system, by visiting www.lowndescounty.com and clicking on the CodeRed icon.  Lowndes County Emergency Management uses CodeRed to release specific information to citizens during emergencies, including weather events.  Further, users have the option of receiving weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service as soon as they are issued.”

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

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