There were 66,000 customers without power in Lowndes County heading into what is expected to be the worst six hours of Tropical Storm Irma for the South Georgia border city, county spokeswoman Paige Dukes said at 10:30 a.m.
For some perspective: The U.S. Census mostly recently estimated that the county’s population was about 114,000.
Irma was supposed to bring hurricane-force winds, that means 74 mph or above, into the Valdosta area for six hours starting at 11 a.m. Monday, according to what head of county emergency services Ashley Tye told officials.
Georgia DOT: With Irma approaching, stay off the roads
Due to the strong winds, Tye recommended about 9 a.m. that all emergency vehicles get off the roads. That means no utility crews will come to restore power until it is safe for them to head out.
No one has been injured by the strong winds, Dukes said, but a tree has fallen on a Valdosta fire department vehicle.
The county announced a curfew for all residents about 9 a.m.
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Downtown Valdosta was mostly empty as residents stayed home under encouragement from Lowndes County officials.