According to the latest forecast, Lowndes County has an 80% chance of experiencing Tropical Storm Force winds (39-74 mph) and a 30% chance of experiencing Hurricane Force winds of 75 mph or greater. This being the case, citizens should take advantage of the time between now and when winds arrive to secure outdoor furniture, toys, trampolines, etc.
The main area of uncertainty with the current forecast is timing. The forward motion of the storm has fluctuated and it is uncertain how the forward movement will be affected once the storm reaches the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, the earliest reasonable time of arrival of Tropical Storm Force winds is late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Based on the current forecast, the most likely time Lowndes County could feel the impact of Tropical Storm force winds is Wednesday mid-morning. Regardless, citizens should prepare now to ensure readiness in the event the storm arrives earlier than expected.
The tornado threat for Lowndes County is categorized as Elevated. Since our area is forecast to be in what is termed the “right front quadrant” of the storm, there is an increased risk of being impacted by tornadoes that may develop from the approaching severe weather. Tornados can form anywhere within a storm, but the northeast area tends to produce the most tornadic activity. Based on the current forecast, Lowndes County’s tornado threat increases significantly by tomorrow afternoon. Citizens are encouraged to remain aware of their surroundings during periods of severe weather. Know the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch indicates conditions are favorable, a warning means tornadic activity has been identified. In the event of a tornado warning, seek shelter away from windows and outside walls or doors.
The current forecast indicates Michael will bring 4-5 inches of rain to the area. Citizens should expect periods of heavy rainfall. While river flooding is not expected at this time, flash flooding from heavy rain during a short period of time is a legitimate concern. Citizens should avoid flooded roads, streets, and bridges. Significant infrastructure damage could exist under floodwaters. Crossing flooded areas could result in injury or loss of life. Do not put yourself or emergency responders in danger. Flash flood waters recede fairly quickly. A brief delay in travel could save a life.
Lowndes County Emergency Management will continue to monitor conditions as Tropical Storm Michael develops. In the event severe weather results in downed trees and power lines, citizens should be prepared to sustain themselves for a three-day period. Supplies such as bottled water, non-perishable food items, prescription medications, flashlights, batteries, infant supplies, cleaning supplies, first aid items, etc., should be on hand. For preparedness checklists visit www.ready.ga.gov.
Please remember local ordinances require pets to be kept safe during periods of severe weather. In the event pets cannot be brought inside, pet owners are still responsible for providing a safe shelter.
As with any response, communication remains key. Emergency Management Officials would like to remind citizens in Lowndes County that the Tallahassee Division of the National Weather service is the official government weather source for our area. In addition, 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. Emergency Management will use CodeRed for specific messaging and citizens may opt in to receive weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service. In the event other communication options fail, citizens are should have a working, NOAA weather radio. Citizens may also follow Lowndes County Emergency Management on Facebook by liking, EMA Lowndes.”