“The latest briefing information from the Tallahassee Division of the National Weather Service indicates that the center of Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to track along the Lowndes/Echols line. With the westward shift, forecast winds have increased accordingly. Strong gusts are possible ahead of the main band within Elsa, but Tropical Storm force winds are expected to enter Lowndes County, near Lake Park, beginning around 12 Noon today. As the center moves further inland, the wind field will spread across the rest of the County and nearly every location within Lowndes County has a good chance of seeing sustained Tropical Storm force winds this afternoon. Winds of 40 mph, with gusts of 45-50, are possible countywide and the closer you are to the center of the storm the stronger the winds will be. Areas like Lake Park and Dasher may briefly see sustained winds of 45-50 mph. Winds are expected to exit the County and drop back below Tropical Storm strength by 6-7 PM. With these wind speeds Lowndes County can expect numerous power outages as the storm moves through and the extent of the damage will determine how long it takes to restore utilities. Utility crews will not be able to begin work until winds drop below the threshold for them to operate safely, which is usually in the neighborhood of 30mph or less. Citizens should anticipate and be prepared for extended power outages.
Lowndes County is still expected to see heavy rainfall. The current forecast indicates approximately two to three inches of rain throughout the day across most of the County but some areas may see isolated higher amounts of four to five inches. With the heavy rainfall, storm water infrastructure may be temporarily overwhelmed, causing localized flood 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.
- Primary Impact is expected to be heavy rain for Lowndes County. Lowndes County is expected to receive 2-3 inches throughout today with isolated amounts of 4-5 inches in some areas as the storm grows closer.
- Flash Flooding in low lying and flood prone areas is possible during heavy rains.
- Tropical Storm force winds are expected to begin as early as 12 PM and lasting until 6-7PM tonight – highest gusts anticipated are around 45-50 mph, capable of producing damage from downed trees and flying debris.
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 and the Lowndes County’s website, www.lowndescounty.com.
Hurricane Season runs through November 30, 2021. 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. Lowndes County Emergency Management uses CodeRed to release specific information to citizens during emergencies to include weather events. Further, users have the option of receiving weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service as soon as they are issued.
City of Valdosta Updates:
- Due to inclement weather, all city offices will be closed at 12 p.m. This closure includes the customer service building and municipal court.
- The Fire, Police, Public Works, Utilities and Engineering Departments will be staffed and prepared to respond to emergency needs of citizens. However, citizens should be aware of some delay during extreme wind speeds when public safety vehicles cannot safely respond.
- Valdosta On-Demand staff will monitor conditions throughout the day and update riders if extreme winds prohibit the service from operating. Messaging will be sent to all drivers reminding them of safety on the road.
- City residents are encouraged to Download and utilize the Valdosta Click ‘N Fix mobile app or online reporting tool to report downed trees, flooded streets, traffic light issues, etc.