VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - South Georgia is bracing for Tropical Storm Fay.
The storm has already drenched South Florida with rain, packed highways and prompted a state of emergency as the storm gathers strength.
But emergency officials in Lowndes County say it's still to early to tell if South Georgia will share the same fate.
"The storm track is changing a lot, every few hours and it's gone as far west as Alabama and as far east as the Georgia coast," says County spokesman Paige Dukes.
If it hits south Georgia, it's predicted to bring inches of rain and heavy winds.
Lowndes County leaders say they need to be prepared.
"Whenever we have that water come in and it starts to overwhelm our infrastructure, we have roads washout," Dukes adds. "During 2004, Hurricane Jean dumped inches of water in Lowndes County. We had $1 million dollars in damage. With that we had roads that washed out over 14 feet."
They've stockpiled supplies, asked the community to hunker down in anticipation of severe weather and put hotels on stand-by, ready to take in evacuees.
"We have put everyone here on notice locally who is responsible for sheltering not only locals but some of the visitors we could get with this storm."
So which ever way the wind blows, the community will be ready to weather the storm.
Tropical Storm Fay is forecasted to gain strength after passing the Florida key to become a category one hurricane.
A Category one storm can bring winds up to 95 miles per hour.
Here are some tips just released from the Lowndes County Commission Office:
LOWNDES COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
2008 HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION
Since the 2004 Hurricane Season, when over the course of several months
Lowndes County was continuously impacted in some way by hurricane and
tropical storm activity that devastated parts of Florida and the gulf cost region,
Lowndes County has continued to focus on preparedness. Since, the Lowndes
County Office of Emergency Management has monitored the progress of predisaster
mitigation plans, updated the county's Local Emergency Operations
Plan, allocated $4 million in S.P.L.O.S.T. VI funding for the construction of a local
Emergency Operations Center, taken steps to implement a Citizens Emergency
Response Team, verified the availability of local shelters, entered into two
contracts for debris management and removal and located additional resources
Georgia Emergency Management houses throughout the state.
With regards to the continuity of local services, the Lowndes County Public
Works Department has identified and taken steps to improve areas considered
vulnerable; ordered digital signage for road closures and detours; and verified
that all drainage and storm water systems are managing run-off effectively.
Since Friday, Lowndes County EMA Director, Ashley Tye, has communicated
several times daily with the Tallahassee Division of the National Weather
Service, regarding the possible paths Tropical Storm Fay might travel through the
area. Currently, Mr. Tye continues to monitor condition updates and situation
reports related to the storm. This information is then disseminated to local
governments and officials, city and county departments, local schools, utility
companies and emergency support functions agencies such as the Red Cross.
Lowndes County Public Works and Lowndes County Fire Rescue will carefully
monitor conditions as the storm makes landfall and will adjust manning and hours
of work accordingly. For now, Lowndes County recommends that citizens take
advantage of the advance notice tropical storms and hurricanes provide by taking
steps necessary to prepare their homes and businesses. The Department of
Homeland Security has launched a national campaign encouraging citizens to
prepare for hurricanes by compiling the information below which may also be
obtained by visiting www.ready.gov.
Lowndes County encourages citizens to be aware of their surroundings at all
times and stay tuned to local media, additional information will be released as
soon as it becomes available. In the event of a power outage, citizens can still
receive weather updates and emergency information via NOAA Weather Radio.
Many local retailers offer NOAA Weather Radios at a reasonable cost and they
have been referred to as the single most important preparedness tool a citizen
Step 1: Get A Kit
or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to
prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car. This kit should include:
Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies;
o Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows;
o Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a
o Copies of important documents: driver's license, Social Security card,
proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage
certificates, tax records, etc.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Prepare your family
strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will
get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency
out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated
spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to
help create one.
o Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and
outside of your immediate neighborhood.
o Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in
another town, a motel or public shelter.
o If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
o If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need
o Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
o Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be
permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an
Citizen Corps chapter. Keep your training current.
Step 3: Be Informed
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA
Weather Radio for the latest developments.
authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are
considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely
dangerous and warrant your full attention.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Winds (MPH) Damage Storm
1 74-95 Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes,
vegetation and signs. 4-5 feet
2 96-110 Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs,
small crafts, flooding. 6-8 feet
3 111-130 Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying
roads cut off. 9-12 feet
Extreme: Roofs destroyed, trees down,
roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed.
Beach homes flooded.
5 More than 155
Catastrophic: Most buildings destroyed.
Vegetation destroyed. Major roads cut
off. Homes flooded.
Greater than 18 feet
destructive result. Slow moving storms and tropical storms moving into
mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can
trigger landslides or mud slides, especially in mountainous regions. Flash flooding
can occur due to intense rainfall. Flooding on rivers and streams may persist for
several days or more after the storm. Learn more about preparing your home or
business for a possible flood by reviewing the Floods page.
Prepare Your Home
protect your windows from high winds.
that is not tied down.
coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Prepare Your Business
Plan to stay in business, talk to your employees, and protect your investment.
determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely
necessary to keep the business operating.
o Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your
o Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a
disaster makes your location unusable.
Listen to Local Officials
Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state
and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local
emergency management officials.
Federal and National Resources
Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for a hurricane by visiting the