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Southern counties wait for the other shoe to drop

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

August 22, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Law enforcers and public works from Valdosta and all the surrounding counties being hit by Tropical Storm Fay say it's quieter than expected, but it's still been strong enough to cause some problems.

Lowndes County is under a tornado watch Friday, and a flood watch through Saturday night.

 "We've been told we need to be aware of tornadoes by the National Weather Service. You just don't always know what's hiding in the storm until it gets here," said Paige Dukes with the Lowndes County Commission Office.

While there's no way to know what Fay may bring, we know it's already made a mess. An inch and a half of fast falling rain has caused flash flooding on some city streets.

Moody Air Force Base clocked the storms winds Friday afternoon at 45 miles per hour.

Gusts have sent debris and limbs flying into the streets and even uprooted small trees.

"We have quickly gotten them out of the way. They are small but create a traffic hazard problem," said Deputy City Manager Mara Register.

In some cases they've knocked out power. Parts of Lanier, Lowndes and Berrien Counties all report brief outages. And with the national weather services predicting more rain.

 "They are still anticipating we'll see five to seven inches of rain between now and tomorrow evening," Register says.

"As the grounds continues to saturate, we could have some trees that just fall over so we may have more power outages," Dukes adds.

Valdosta says that as long as the rain falls, they'll have road crews out cleaning up debris and bailing out excess water on the roads.

Thanks to road crews that have been working since 2:00AM, those trees were cleaned up almost as quickly as they went down and power has been restored to all areas that lost it.

Those crews will brave the elements and continue clean-up until Fay moves out.

 "Since we have already had some rain and some wind they are going back, checking the areas and making sure they remain free because as long as we keep the water flowing, that's good and that means we can get it off of us," said Register.

We've checked in with law enforcers in Clinch, Berrien, Brooks, Echols, and Lanier Counties as well. All say they are experiencing pretty much the same problems but do agree Fay is quieter than they thought it would be.

The 911 center says they are getting bogged down with callers asking for storm updates. They say 911 is an emergency number not an information line, don't call unless you have an emergency.

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