Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 8, 2014

Officials prep for heavy rain

VALDOSTA — Springtime in Valdosta means heavy rains, and the National Weather Service expects Lowndes County to get between two and two and a half inches of rain from Monday afternoon to Tuesday evening. City of Valdosta and Lowndes County officials are preparing for the inclement weather.

While the county is focusing on roads and potential flooding, the city is concentrating its efforts on the wastewater issue.

“The City of Valdosta has had a multi-departmental response to the severe weather. Preparedness actually began late last week when the bad weather was predicted,” said Sementha Mathews, Valdosta’s public information officer. “City staff began preparation by lowering the water levels at the millpond and clearing out trouble spots in the collection system to ensure the system runs effectively with the anticipated higher water flows.”

The city has personnel on standby, with additional personnel at the wastewater treatment plant ready to respond quickly during the night.

“The Stormwater Division has cleaned out catch basins, road culverts, and storm pipes of leaves and debris, as well as removed beaver dams, to ensure water flows properly throughout the city stormwater system,” Mathews said. “The city is ready to respond with personnel and equipment, if necessary, as it is in other similar situations.”

The County’s public works department is constantly monitoring road conditions, and if needed, they partner with county engineers to drain flooded roads.

“As soon as it is safe for department supervisors to be on the road, general inspections take place to identify any roads that might need to be closed or repaired. In most cases, roads are closed no more than 24 hours, with most repaired and reopened within just a few hours of being closed,” said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk.

Director Ashley Tye of the Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency said, “The tornado threat is relatively low; an isolated tornado is still possible. As we have learned from recent storms, even straight line winds can produce damage similar to that of a tornado so we should be prepared for numerous trees down and possible power outages.”

Fallen trees have already been an issue this year for Lowndes County First Responders.

“It’s only April and County Fire Rescue has responded to two major events involving trees across roadways, trees on homes and businesses and downed power lines, “ Dukes said. “ LCFR  checks all apparatus and equipment to ensure all resources are available to respond in the event trees begin to go down.”

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