Lowndes County, Georgia – Lowndes County is officially under a Hurricane Watch. 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
- 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 countywide for Lowndes County. If you are concerned with remaining in Lowndes County, you need to consider evacuating.
The primary concern at this point is that citizens are accustomed to storm warnings only to have the storm lose strength before arrival. This is not expected to be the case with Hurricane Irma. 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.
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.
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)
- Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 100 East Park Avenue, Valdosta (some pet space)
- 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 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.
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.
Advisories will change as severe weather moves through Lowndes County. We ask all citizens to follow directives issued by emergency management and local law enforcement. The success of our response to Hurricane Irma depends greatly upon our ability as a community to respond as one Lowndes.
Please visit www.ready.ga.gov for information on preparing your home for Hurricane Irma. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.