PHOTOGRAPH CONTRIBUTED BY BRANDON JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY
VALDOSTA – (October 11, 2018) Hurricane Michael reduced its strength to a Tropical Storm last night at midnight, after making a bold entrance at nearly a Category 5 yesterday.
As it stands, Lowndes County and surrounding areas are beginning to assess the damage, venturing out into their worlds again. Many businesses are closed, as are schools.
The overall picture at this time:
- The Florida Panhandle struggles to comprehend the devastation as they get their first glimpses of what happened while they were taking cover.
- Vast search and rescue efforts are underway as the Panhandle appears to be almost completely demolished. Whole houses were moved off their foundations, roofs were peeled off, trees snapped, power lines felled.
- Roughly 200 miles of Florida, Alabama and Georgia in the path of the storm appear apocalyptic in some areas.
- Miraculously, loss of life has been minimal thus far. One 11-year-old child was killed in Seminole County, and a man was killed in Gasden County (Greensboro), Florida.
- At 5 a.m. on Thursday, Michael was about 30 miles west of Augusta, Ga., heading northeast with sustained wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The storm is moving relatively quickly, at 21 m.p.h., and is expected to speed up as it crosses into the Carolinas on Thursday and blows out to sea by early Friday.
- Linemen, both local and out-of-town crews, are working vigilantly to restore power to the tens of thousands without. Please be aware of the inevitable detours and destruction you will encounter on roadways.
There was no curfew in effect in Lowndes County, but Brooks County did enact one beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
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