Lowndes Co., Valdosta officials give updates on cleanup and recovery after Idalia

The press conference was held to update citizens on the state of the clean-up efforts by city and county officials.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Officials in Lowndes County and the city of Valdosta are beginning to start the recovery process after deadly Hurricane Idalia slammed Florida and South Georgia on Wednesday.

During a news conference at the Lowndes County EMA Operations Center on Thursday, officials began by saying how the storm was one of the worst seen in the county in recent memory.

“We came through the worst weather that Lowndes County has seen maybe ever, certainly in decades,” Lowndes County County Manager Paige Dukes said.

“This was indeed an unprecedented storm for Lowndes County. Can’t find anything in the historical record that rivals that,” Lowndes County EMA Director Ashley Tye said.

Officials said they were working diligently to help the community return to normal, however, the recovery process may not be quick.

“With this unprecedented level of damage, it is going to take some time,” Tye said.

Power outages are still affecting residents throughout the county. Over 22,000 people are still without power, according to Georgia Power. That number was over 40,000 Wednesday night.

“As of now, approximately, 75-80% of customers in Lowndes County are without power,” Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter said.

Crews are currently working to pick up trees and other debris throughout the county. All state offices that are able to help have been deployed in the county.

In the wake of many trees being downed and other storm-related damage, scammers have throughout the county been offering to clear trees for those affected. These people are not licensed. In order to curb those after-storm scams, multiple local and state offices are helping to track down and even use criminal charges against them, according to Dukes.

WALB’s Idalia coverage:

Though the recovery process may be extended for parts of South Georgia, WALB will be there to cover all developments.