Lowndes County and City of Valdosta Prepare for Hurricane Ian

Lowndes County Emergency Management Prepares for Hurricane Ian

Lowndes County, Georgia: Lowndes County Emergency Management continues to monitor and prepare for Hurricane Ian. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Ian is forecasted to strengthen into a Major Hurricane as it passes the Western tip of Cuba before eventually weakening a little before making landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Ian is expected to be a large storm, and impacts will be felt well outside the forecast track cone.

Depending upon the path, Lowndes County could begin experiencing the effects of Ian as early as Wednesday with the most likely time of arrival Thursday morning. Tropical Storm wind probabilities for Lowndes County are currently, 60-70%. With the high chance of Tropical Storm force winds, Lowndes County could expect power outages as the storm moves through and the extent of the damage will determine how long it takes to restore utilities.  Residents should anticipate and be prepared to deal with extended power outages.

Lowndes County is expected to see heavy rainfall. 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 www.lowndescounty.com and clicking on the storm icon.
  • Have an emergency plan in place, for preparedness tips visit www.ready.ga.gov.
  • Those in our community that have sheltered from severe weather in the past, should make plans for shelter now. While public shelters will be available if needed, residents are usually more comfortable sheltering with friends and family. Do not wait until the last minute to start looking for a place to shelter.
  • Have a list of supplies and assemble them now. Residents should have enough food and water for each person in their household for at least three days. Fill your prescriptions and have medicine on hand. Radios, batteries, and phone chargers are also must-haves. Gas up vehicles and make sure to have cash on hand. For more on assembling supplies visit https://www.ready.gov/kit
  • Pet owners that 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 including extreme temperatures.
  • 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. Residents 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; and
  • 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; and
  • 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 Ian:

Hurricane Season runs through November 30, 2021.  Residents 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.