Forecast for Irma Remains Severe

Lowndes County, Ga. – Lowndes County remains under a Hurricane Watch, this morning’s briefing from the National Weather Service did not indicate an improvement in forecast conditions.  The current forecast from the National Weather Service indicates extremely dangerous conditions to include:

- Peak Wind Forecast: up to 80 mph sustained with gusts in excess of 100 mph.  Tropical storm force winds are forecast to arrive between 8:00-10:00 p.m. this evening.  Once they arrive, tropical storm force winds are expected to remain in the area for 24 hours. 

- Window for Tropical Storm force winds: early Monday morning until early Tuesday morning

The current threat to life and property is high.  Dangerous and life-threatening wind is possible. 

Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury or loss of life. 

This being the case, a voluntary evacuation is in place county wide for Lowndes County.  If you are concerned with remaining in Lowndes County, you need to consider evacuating.

Citizens should prepare for winds higher than ever recorded in Lowndes County.

Expected winds may prevent public safety responders from immediately responding in the event of an emergency call.  Please know personnel will respond, but there could be a delay based on wind speed.

Potential impacts are projected to be extensive and could include:

- Major damage to frame built homes, with some experiencing partial roof or wall collapse.

-Numerous windows and garage doors will fail, leading to additional structural damage.

-Mobile homes significantly damaged, with many destroyed.

-Damage increased by large projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for days to weeks.

- Numerous large trees snapped or uprooted with roadway signs blown over.

- Some primary and many secondary roads are impassible due to debris.

- Significant power and communication outages.

BE PREPARED FOR POWER TO BE OUT MORE THAN A WEEK.

Rain:

- Peak Rainfall Amounts: 6-10 inches, higher amounts possible.

Hurricane Irma is primarily forecast as a wind event; however, flooding may occur.  Conditions are also favorable for tornadoes. 

SHELTERING:

Those residing in mobile homes should seek more adequate shelter from this storm.  No one should remain in a recreational vehicle.  Additional shelters will be opened as needed and as space becomes available.  Shelters are currently open at the following locations:

  • CrossPointe Church, 4100 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta (no pets) - FULL
  • Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 100 East Park Avenue, Valdosta (some pet space) - FULL
  • First United Methodist Church, 109 West Valley St. (some pet space)
  • First Baptist Church, 200 West Central Ave. – opening at 2:00 p.m.
  • Redland Baptist Church, 4888 Rocky Ford Rd., opening at 2:00 p.m.
  • Eastern Heights Baptist Church, 2399 New Statenville Hwy
  • The City of Valdosta will open Mathis Auditorium, 2300 North Ashley Street, as a Good Samaritan shelter on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 4 p.m., to shelter those who live in mobile homes, RV's or less-safe housing and need a place to weather the storm.  Those who choose to reside at Mathis Auditorium for the duration of the storm will need to bring their own bedding, medications, non-perishable food items and any personal items they may need. No pets will be allowed at the shelter, and people are advised to make other arrangements for the care of their pets. The city requests that once people check into the facility that, for their own safety, they not leave until the strongest part of the storm subsides and until it is safe to do so. 

TRAVEL

DO NOT TRAVEL UNTIL SEVERE WEATHER HAS COMPLETELY MOVED THROUGH THE AREA.  Public safety will continue to respond to the needs of citizens.  Citizens should be aware there could be some delay in response if wind speeds sustain a level at which public safety vehicles cannot safely respond. 

Lowndes County Emergency Management will continue to update media outlets throughout this event.  In in event of an emergency, downed power lines, or debris on a roadway, dial 911.  Do not call 911 for weather updates, traffic information, or to ask if the storm has passed.  Dispatchers will be very busy assisting public safety personnel and managing needs related to actual emergencies.

ANNOUNCEMENTS – City of Valdosta:

  • Due to the intensity of Hurricane Irma, Valdosta city government will be closed on Monday, Sept. 11, which includes all non-essential services. City employees should NOT report to work on Monday, with the exception of those employees requested to come into work. 
  • The city encourages private businesses and organizations to likewise cancel all non-essential services on Monday for their safety.
  • As a reminder, there will be no sanitation services on Monday, Sept. 11. It is important that citizens do not place their trash bins or debris at the curb on Sunday and Monday to prevent the debris from being blown around in the storm and potentially clogging storm drains and causing flooding.
  • The City of Valdosta will open Mathis Auditorium, 2300 North Ashley Street, as a Good Samaritan shelter on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 4 p.m., to shelter those who live in mobile homes, RVs or less-safe housing and need a place to weather the storm. Those who choose to reside at Mathis Auditorium for the duration of the storm will need to bring their own bedding, medications, non-perishable food items and any personal items. No pets will be allowed at the shelter, and people are advised to make other arrangements for the care of their pets. The city requests that once people check into the facility that, for their own safety, they not leave until the strongest part of the storm subsides and until it is safe to do so. 
  • The Fire, Police, Public Works, Utilities and Engineering Departments will be minimally staffed and prepared to respond to emergency needs of citizens. However, citizens should be aware of some delay during extreme wind speeds when public safety vehicles cannot safely respond. 
  • During the storm, please stay off the road for your safety and the safety of passengers. 
  • Expect power outages. Remember, incorrect generator use can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Position generators outdoors and well away from any structure—Running a generator inside any enclosed or partially enclosed structure will lead to dangerous and often fatal levels of CO. Visit Georgia Power site at https://www.georgiapower.com/in-your-community/storm-center/after/generator-safety.cshtml for safety tips.
  • As a reminder, motorists who approach a traffic intersection with an inoperative traffic light should treat the intersection as a four-way stop. The first motorist to arrive has the right to proceed through intersection, and motorists thereafter will proceed in the order they arrive. If multiple motorists arrive at the intersection at the same time, the driver to the right proceeds, and the rest proceed in a clockwise manner.​​

      Please visit www.ready.ga.gov for information on preparing you home for Hurricane Irma.  Additional information will be released as it becomes available.  

Posted by Sementha Mathews Sunday, September 10, 2017 2:41:00 PM Categories: Press Release Public Information