As forecast, tropical rains began about midnight here and will continue through tonight. Rain will total 5-7 inches. Winds of 30 mph. with gusts to 50 mph. this afternoon. Tapering off after that.Hurricane winds and rain come in bands. Local flash flooding possible. Stay at home and off the roads if possible. Be prepared for power outages. Some have already occurred overnight.Use common sense and this will be just another rain storm – though a heavy one.UPDATE 2 FROM SRE:Outages are steadily increasing with more than 2500 members without power across eight counties. Most are located in Bibb (627) and Monroe (841). Crews are continuing to work in the elements to restore as much as possible but conditions are deteriorating. Members are encouraged not to use social media to report outages. Please use the Outage Hotline: 866-244-4890. ‘¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢’¢UPDATE FROM ERIN COOK AT SOUTHERN RIVERS ENERGY:SRE currently has over 1900 members without power across seven of its nine counties, the majority of which are located in Meriwether. Members should use the Outage Hotline for the most efficient outage reporting at: 866-244-4890. Crews are working as quickly as possible but severe winds are knocking down trees and tearing lines down all over the system. The situation will only deteriorate as the worst of Irma hits late this afternoon. Members are urged to prepare for extended outages. President/CEO Michael McMillan says, ‘While restoring power is certainly our main goal, the safety of our crews comes first.’ Updates will be posted on www.southernriversenergy.com as well as SRE’s Facebook and Twitter pages at the following scheduled times: 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. A new schedule of updates will be posted at 6 p.m. Members can track outages on the Live Outage Viewer: http://outage.southernriversenergy.com:82/ Thank you for your patience and cooperation.