Lowndes updates on power, roads, school closings and debris removal

| September 12, 2017

Release from Lowndes Emergency Management

Today, citizens can help recovery efforts by staying off local roads.  An increase in traffic will slow down efforts to clear roads and restore power.

This is where we are this morning:

POWER:

Georgia Power and Colquitt EMC continue to work around the clock.  Georgia Power has issued a release saying 95% of customers across the state should have power restored by Sunday.  Every available resource is focused on restoration at this time.

Citizens should exercise caution as generator use continues.  Generators should be housed in a well ventilated area, not an enclosed area such as a garage.  Also, please make sure power cords are not left in standing water.  Generators should not be plugged into a wall outlet.  This is known as back feeding.  If someone has not turned the main breaker of the home or business off so that the location is isolated from the grid, the generator could send power beyond the location and injure or kill the utility worker trying to repair the grid.

ROADS

PLEASE travel as little as possible. Those riding through our community for the purpose of viewing storm damage are hindering response efforts and making it difficult for those who live in these areas to access their property. Thank you.

If you do have to travel and come to an intersection where the lights are out, please treat it like a four-way stop sign.

Public Works and Engineering crews are working across the community to repair and reopen roads.  The road list is fluid today and continues to shorten as repairs and inspections are completed.  If there are any roads that are going to be closed beyond today, this list will be released late this afternoon.

DEBRIS REMOVAL

Lowndes County has lifted the Burn Ordinance restriction that provides for burning on the first and third Saturday of each month.  Citizens in unincorporated Lowndes County can burn personal yard debris any day of the week until September 30.   This does not affect Georgia Forestry’s requirement of a burn permit.  Citizens must always first have a burn permit.  To obtain a permit, please call Georgia Forestry at 1-866-OK2-BURN.  Please remain mindful that for medical reasons smoke is uncomfortable to some citizens.  Efforts should be made to burn yard debris efficiently.   Lowndes County Code Enforcement will continue to monitor burning activities.

Residents inside the city limits of Valdosta, Remerton, Hahira, Lake Park, and Dasher follow the directions of each city with regards to disposing of storm debris.  Burning is not allowed inside city limits.

Advanced Disposal is collecting yard debris as they continue their normal routes.  The landfill is also open for the disposal of yard debris from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Deep South Sanitation will have the collection center on Gil Harbin open for Deep South customers for yard debris only today and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., after which they will assume normal business hours for collection centers.

REPAIRS

If your home or business needs repair, please make sure that anyone working on your property is a licensed contractor.  Licensed contractors should be able to provide a copy of their occupational tax certificate(business license), proof of insurance, and a contract that outlines the work to be done, cost, and a time by which the work will be completed.  A reputable contractor should not ask for payment up front.

There is no indication that there is going to be any financial or FEMA assistance at this time.  Citizens with damage should contact their insurance agent for directions on obtaining estimates.  Renters should contact their landlords.  Anyone without insurance is private pay.  There may be volunteer assistance available for citizens with extenuating circumstances.  If you would like to volunteer services or if you need help, please call 229-671-2790, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Volunteer assistance is provided on as verified basis as resources are available.

SCHOOLS

Area schools are assessing school and other conditions this afternoon. We will keep you posted as soon as we hear any further updates.  Any specific questions related to schools should be directed to the appropriate board of education.

Lowndes County Schools will re-open Friday, Sept. 15th.

Valdosta City Schools will remain closed through the end of this week.  They will reopen on Monday, September 18.  The Valdosta Wildcats have postponed Friday’s game against Thomas County Central.  The game will be played at home on Friday, September 29 with an 8:00 kickoff.  All middle school games have been cancelled for the remainder of this week.  Any that are rescheduled will be announced at a later date and posted on the VCS website.

Echols County Schools will re-open Monday, Sept. 18th.

Open Bible will re-open Monday, Sept. 18th.

Crossroads Baptist School will re-open Friday, Sept. 15th.

Wiregrass Technical College will be open for faculty and staff only on Thursday and Friday. Classes will resume Monday, September 18th. Employees should check their emails for further information.

FLOODING

There is a minor flood warning in place for the Withlacoochee.  According to the National Weather Service river level projections may impact some rural roads, but they are not expected to reach a level that would impact homes or businesses at this time.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.  The emergency operations center remains fully activated.

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