VALDOSTA, Ga. — At least two people have died as now-Tropical Storm Idalia led a destructive path through Florida and south Georgia.
Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Brad Nitz said Idalia’s sustained winds are now at about 70 mph as the storm heads toward Savannah and Charleston.
Some of the worst damage so far in Georgia has been in the Valdosta area.
The city of Valdosta was asking people in that area to shelter in place because of “significant damage” caused by the storm.
“Many roads are impassable due to flooding, debris, or lines in the roadway. The recovery efforts are underway, but the damage is vast,” the city said in a Facebook post.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, about 97% of the city was without power.
City officials told Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez that it could take days to reach everyone.
Several streets in Valdosta a currently impassable because of fallen trees and limbs.
Estevez stopped in at El Paso Taco and Tequila which had a leak from the storm.
“It was pretty disappointing, but luckily as a team, we were able to clean it up,” said Samantha Medrano, who works at the restaurant.
“The storm, it did some damage?” Estevez asked Medrano.
“It was pretty intense. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen in Georgia before. We’ve been without power for about eight hours now,” Medrano said.
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Another area of the city that emergency officials were telling people to stay away from was the E. Park Avenue area.
The city shared photos of water rescues underway to get people out of an apartment building as flood waters had overtaken parts of the first floor.
The storm lost strength as it moved across Georgia, eventually being downgraded to a tropical storm. One of the next areas expected to be hit, was Savannah.
Our crews there found that River Street was a ghost town with shops and stores closed down and sandbags packed in front of doors as they anticipated a wind and heavy rain event.
City officials there have a blunt message for the people of Savannah: “Stay home.”
“This is nothing to play with,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said.
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was in Georgia’s oldest city as it opened safety centers for people in need of shelter.
“What are some of the supplies that are here?” Washington asked Johnson.
“Everything you would need to hunker down for the night: snacks water, other food, bedding,” Johnson said.
We have crews spread out across Georgia monitoring the damage left by the storm.
Stay with WSBTV.com and tune into Channel 2 Action News throughout the day and evening for LIVE coverage as Idalia moves back out to sea.
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