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UPDATED: Lowndes County preps for hurricane season with new damage assessment software

Posted at 7:34 PM, May 29, 2024

EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect a corrected dollar amount for damage to the state. It has also been updated to remove an inaccurate attribution.

  • Lowndes County is adopting Crisis Track, a smartphone app that streamlines data collection and reporting to GEMA and FEMA.
  • Thanks to recent GEMA grants, the system will be implemented and personnel trained before the peak hurricane season.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

With hurricane season approaching this weekend, Lowndes County is stepping up efforts to support the community after major storms.

"I just have videos of the trees falling down and wondering what else is going to fall down."

I'm Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta, and I'm speaking with neighbors about these hurricane response measures.

If you've been following my stories on hurricanes, then you'll recognize Nancy Griffin.

After four months, I'm paying her and her neighborhood along White Water a visit for an update.

"We were blessed. Our neighbors were not so blessed."

She remembers all the damage Idalia inflicted on her yard and her neighbor's homes.

"I'm the one who takes care of my neighborhood and the one that goes and most grass and takes care of other people. I actually have video of the trees falling down and just wondering how many more was going to fall down."

She tells me that she wouldn't be sure if her and her neighbors would be okay if it weren't for the county and other nonprofit's response.

"They came to make sure we were okay and it was such a blessing."

The county is making sure their response is even better.

Hurricane Idalia underscored the need for a more efficient method of post-storm damage assessments, following FEMA guidelines.

To address this, Lowndes County is introducing Crisis Track, a damage assessment software app.

"While experts do have us at a higher risk of hurricanes this season with the forecast, where those storms go is very unpredictable."

According to FEMA, as of November 6, 2023, 60 days after President Biden declared Hurricane Idalia a major disaster in Georgia, nearly $12.18 million in federal disaster assistancewas approved for storm survivors in the state.