Lowndes County, Georgia - In response to the current forecast provided by the National Weather Service indicating Lowndes County remains in the direct path of Hurricane Irma, emergency shelters are opening. Officials are encouraging a voluntary evacuation of those living in mobile homes or attempting to shelter in recreational vehicles (RVs). The following shelters will be open at 6:00 p.m. this evening (shelter space is available on a first-come, first- served basis):
- CrossPointe Church, 4100 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta (no pets)
- Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 100 East Park Avenue, Valdosta (some pet space)
The following categories of consideration are the focus of current operations:
During an afternoon briefing, the National Weather Service provided forecast information indicating Lowndes County may begin experiencing the effects of Hurricane Irma as early as Sunday afternoon with tropical storm force winds, with the most likely arrival Sunday night. The area can expect tropical storm force winds for a 24-hour period. Tropical storm force winds may exceed 39 mph. As the strongest areas of the storm move through Lowndes County winds could sustain between 50 – 60 mph, with low-grade hurricane force winds not out of the question. Gusts up to 80 mph are possible as a worst-case scenario. Rainfall over the next five days could be as much as 4-6 inches. The storm is expected to move out of the area on Tuesday.
Additional shelters will be opened as needed and as space becomes available. Those seeking shelter should bring any personal items that may be needed to include medications, bedding, infant supplies to include formula and diapers, etc.
Citizens are strongly encouraged to stay off roads, streets, and bridges during periods of extreme weather. Do not under any circumstances drive across flooded roads, streets, or bridges. 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 the event of an emergency, downed power lines, or debris in a roadway, dial 911. Please 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. Citizens are encouraged to sign up for Lowndes County’s free emergency notification system, CodeRed, by visiting www.lowndescounty.com and clicking on the storm icon. Every home and business should also have a working NOAA weather radio in the event all power is lost. Black Crow Media and Rivers Radio Group radio stations will also broadcast updates from the emergency operations center as information becomes available.
- The City of Valdosta will be open for business on Monday, Sept. 11, with the exception of the Valdosta Municipal Court, which will be closed on Monday, Sept. 11 and Tuesday, Sept. 12. Lowndes County offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 11, to include courts. The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners work session scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, has also been canceled.
- There will be NO Valdosta SANITATION SERVICES (garbage, yard waste or recyclables) on Monday, Sept. 11 and trash bins should NOT be placed at the curb. All city sanitation services will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Sanitation customers should expect a delay in services throughout the week as workers collect garbage, as well as storm debris expected from Hurricane Irma. With the exception of Monday, Sept 11, citizens should place their garbage, yard waste and recyclables at the curbside by 5 a.m. on Tuesday through Friday on their normal collection day. Waste cans/rolling carts should be secured. Expected winds could cause containers to become airborne.
- City work crews are assigned to remove debris from city streets, once conditions are safe to perform the work. Similarly, traffic crews are on call to repair traffic signals, once wind conditions are safe.
- There will be no curbside collection of waste in unincorporated Lowndes County on Monday, Sept. 11.
- 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 the 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.
- When the hurricane arrives, please stay off the streets, for your safety and the safety of others. In heavy winds, vehicles have the potential of being pushed into oncoming traffic or off the road, and flying debris and falling trees may also pose a direct threat to motorists and their passengers.
- The scheduled 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony held at Valdosta Fire Station No. 1 on Monday, Sept. 11 has been canceled.
- The Valdosta Water Plant and Wastewater Treatment Plants will be manned around the clock and all have alternative power supplies. Generators are on hand to connect to any lift stations in the event of power loss.
- In the event of an emergency, call 911. After the storm, citizens may report non-emergency issues in the city limits (hazardous trees or limbs down, broken street or traffic signals, flooding or drainage issues, etc.) utilizing the Valdosta Click N Fix app, downloadable from the app stores and also available at http://www.valdostacity.com/report-a-concern.