Valdosta Daily Times

August 20, 2013

Lowndes escapes worst of storms; Echols doesn’t

Terry Richards and Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Valdosta escaped the worst of the wild weather over the weekend, but surrounding counties were not as fortunate, say forecasters.

A frontal system stalled over the region during the weekend, pumping in a great deal of moisture, said Jeff Evans, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee, Fla., office, which handles forecasts for Lowndes County.

Areas to the west of Valdosta received the worst of the rainfall, with spots in the Florida Panhandle getting up to 10 inches of rain over the weekend, he said. Valdosta, on the other hand, received slightly more than half an inch of rain between Friday and late Monday, Evans said.

“Where the front stalled is where the worst of the rain was,” he said.

Tifton received 3.14 inches of rain since Thursday, while Moultrie received 8.59 inches of rain from Wednesday through Sunday and Albany had five inches in the same period, Evans said.

While much of South Georgia and North Florida was under a flash-flood watch through Monday evening, Valdosta was “the one part of our area” that escaped serious flooding, he said.

One area that didn’t escape the severe weather was Echols County. A Saturday-evening storm saw 50-55 mile-per-hour winds moving through the county, and with fierce winds came fierce damage.

While no personal injuries ave been reported, several homes in Echols County suffered storm damage.

Homes like Brooks and Faye Culpepper’s home.

After the storm winds passed, they emerged from their home to find that the wind had wreaked havoc on the large shed next to their residence, tearing parts of the roof off and flinging them across the yard, tearing down the power line that led to the shed, and splitting apart a tree between the shed and their home.

Their residence was also damaged, with the wind tearing parts of their roof off and hurling chunks of the shed’s roof at it.

The weather service doesn’t have a rain gauge in Echols County, but radar estimates of the rain for Statenville over the weekend came to “three or four inches,” said Pete Wolf, meteorologist for the weather service’s Jacksonville, Fla., office, which handles forecasts for Echols.

As the week progresses, the frontal system should break up and South Georgia should become slightly drier, though there will still be chances of late afternoon thunderstorms, Evans said.