Law enforces block streets in Valdosta due to downed power lines. (Source: WALB)
Officials tracking Hermine at the Lowndes County Emergency Operation Center. (Source: WALB)
Paige Dukes speaks about the importance of contacting your insurance company before removing debris. (Source: WALB)
Leslie Golden (Source: WALB)
Nick Wykoff (Source: WALB)
LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) -
Lowndes County was in the direct path of Hermine as it made landfall early Friday morning.
The sunlight revealed downed power lines, broken tree limbs, and minor flooding across the county.
At one point, over 20,000 customers were without power due to tropical storm force winds near 60 MPH.
During the brunt of the storm, emergency crews were unable to respond to calls because conditions were not safe enough for them to drive.
If your home or property received damage, county officials have an important reminder.
"Document any damage you have, contact you insurance agent prior to cleaning up. We have a lot of folks that like to clean up rather quickly. Make sure that if you do have damage, document that first," said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County PIO.
Dukes also urged motorists to stay off the roads so emergency crews can quickly make repairs to power lines and clear roads.
Team coverage continues in Lowndes County:
Thousands of people in Lowndes County still didn't have electricity Friday night.
Safety remained the number one priority and thankfully nobody was hurt during the storm in Valdosta.
But Friday night, some people weren't able to return to their homes.
"And there is a limb just through my ceiling and water was just spraying everywhere," said resident Leslie Golden.
People were frightened by the strong winds and heavy rains that blew through the area early Friday morning. Some made it through the night, but others woke up to a surprise.
"Well I was asleep in my daughter's room and I just heard a boom and then my wife came in," said resident Nick Wykoff.
"It sounded worse than a gunshot. It sounded like two cars collided," explained Golden. "That's how bad that noise was."
Golden said that it was about 4:30 Friday morning when it came through.
"So I am freaking out because I am here with a baby, you know," said Golden.
Like Golden, Wykoff must leave his house after a tree fell.
"Probably going to move into another house that the owners own here in the neighborhood or get a hotel for a couple of days," explained Wykoff.
There were more than 200 emergency calls countywide, but county officials said that the cleanup has been successful thanks to the people who live in the area.
"They were very prepared," said Dukes. "They were listening to the messages that emergency management was putting out with regard to safety and conditions and staying off the road."
On Friday, residents and city leaders thanked those who put in so much effort.
"I'm most appreciative of the men and women of the city of Valdosta who sacrificed and had to leave their own families at home," said City Manager Larry Hanson.
Friday night, as the community comes together to clean up, they are thankful Hermine has passed.
"It definitely could have been worse," said Wykoff. "Thankfully nobody got hurt."
"I'm just so happy that nobody got hurt, especially my baby boy," explained Golden.
City officials will continue to work to get things cleaned up.
Officials have said that a tree fell on a firetruck, but that didn't stop the firefighters from attending to their initial call.