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Hurricanes can impact neighbors dozens of miles inland; see how Valdosta is preparing for the 2024 season

Posted at 7:18 PM, May 31, 2024
  • Hurricanes can cause damage well inland.
  • Neighbors in Valdosta are still recovering from Hurricane Idalia's historic impact.
  • Watch the video above to see how neighbors are preparing for the 2024 hurricane season.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Even though Valdosta is about 80 miles from where Hurricane Idalia made landfall last August, the storm’s impacts are still felt months after the storm. One reason neighbors are preparing for this hurricane season.

“Because if you don’t have any control over the situation, there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Valdosta neighbor, Diane Satterback.

I’m Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta. I’m tracking how the Azalea City is preparing now for what’s ahead.

Diane Satterback’s home has seen damage in multiple storms since Hurricane Idalia last year.

“So many people got hit twice,” Satterback explained.

She is bracing herself for future storms by stocking up on non-perishables and emergency supplies, but she tells me there’s not much she can do beyond that.

“I’ve learned to just relax. You just have to learn to be patient and wait,” Satterback added.

Valdosta saw unprecedented damage in Idalia. Flooding rain and powerful wind impacted neighbors across the community. The city’s public works team and outside assistance removed over 260,000 cubic yards of debris. Their emergency restoration plan had distributed 3,838 cases of water, 1,740 hygiene kits, 444 cleaning kits, and 249 tarps after the historic storm.

Still, the aftermath can be seen to this day.

“We just stay prepared; nothing has really changed on our level," explained Lowndes County Public Information Officer, Meghan Barwick. She tells me their response to hurricane damage hasn’t changed since Idalia, but the county still has been educating the public on storm preparedness in the event of another major storm.

Here's how EMA Lowndes is encouraging neighbors to prep:

  • Make an evacuation plan
  • Assemble disaster supplies
  • Create a communication plan
  • Strengthen your home ahead of any storms

The last of which, Diane tells me she’s getting a head start on, “as much as I love trees, I’m trimming my four pine trees down, and just trimming things that need to be trimmed around the house.”
Hurricane flooding caused $500 million in damage with 23 counties receiving Federal Disaster aid in 2023. Something to think about in the coming months.