South Georgia counties, cities prepare for Irma

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 5, 2017

NOAA's GOES East satellite imagery shows Hurricane Irma move west toward the Leeward Islands and strengthen to a Category 5 storm

LOWNDES CO., Ga. (WCTV) -- Lowndes County Emergency Management is preparing for Hurricane Irma.

Officials say it could impact the area by the middle of next week and are tracking it's path each day.

Local government in South Georgia are preparing public infrastructure for possible impact.

Lowndes County public works is clearing any blocked drainage areas ahead of the rainfall.

They're also encouraging residents to take the necessary steps to prepare and protect their homes.

"Currently, the forecast path for Irma does not lend itself to Lowndes County being a favorable location for evacuees to seek shelter," says Lowndes County EMA.

The City of Valdosta is also activating it's storm plan to prepare for severe weather.

They say the preparation includes communicating with employees regarding workplace readiness, filling fuel tanks, lowering water levels at the Mill Pond to accommodate additional storm water, checking catch basins, testing generators, and ensuring all city equipment is ready to use.

According to Georgia Welcome Center officials, hotels are booked from the Georgia-Florida line to just south of Atlanta. Even hotels in Dothan, Alabama are full.

Most of those evacuees have planned to stay starting Friday.

Officials are urging anyone trying to find a room to book as soon as possible.