Damage leaves city, utility hard at work Tuesday - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Damage leaves city, utility hard at work Tuesday

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June 10, 2008

Albany --  Clean up came Tuesday after wind gusts of near hurricane speed uprooted trees and ripped down power lines in Albany.

A powerful thunderstorm hit just after eight Monday night, and with it came rain, hail and wind gusts of 72 miles per hour.

Strong winds ripped a branch from a pine tree and slammed it across the roof of a pickup on Gary Avenue. Just a block away on Acker Drive a pine tree snapped at its base and landed on the roof of a home, knocking off the trim. Another tree landed on this home along Whispering Pines and the fury of the storm uprooted a large pine on Greenwood.

More than one thousand people lost power at the height of the storm, including Albany's 911 Center.

Water, Gas, and Light crews spent the day restoring electricity.

 Now, all WG&L customers have power, but some customers may find they need to call an electrician because they have individual damage where the lines enter their home. Mitchell EMC and Georgia Power customers who had outages had electricity by mid day. WG&L crews said getting power restored to everyone wasn't easy because the problem was so widespread.

"We have so many pine trees in Albany so even the least wind in a summer storm causes outages," said WG&L's Lorie Farkas. "But as we all know last night was a very sudden violent storm and so we've had hail damage there's lost of different problems, there's not just one thing."

Branches may have pulled several lines loose or caused them to sag, if you notice lines like this, you should report it to WG&L.

Public works crews were also working the streets today trying to clear small limbs and pine straw from storm drains to prevent future problems.

All nine of the city's street sweepers worked the hardest hit areas of Albany. The high cost of fuel for the trucks put limitations on how many crews helped with the cleanup.

"Fuel prices being as they are we've had to be real selective about how we respond to these things," says Public Works Director Phil Roberson. "We didn't call our whole crew in last night we called in enough to respond and we're doing the same thing with the pick up we're very selective on how we put our trucks out."

Public works is asking residents cleaning up storm debris not to push it into the street. You should place debris where it is typically picked up, usually in the alleys.

If it's too large, it can be placed at the curb and extra crews will be around to dispose of the storm debris.

Much of the debris couldn't be picked up by machines, so public works had to designate other crews to pick up the debris by hand.

Six crews worked along with street sweepers using chain saws to break up large pines that fell near the intersection of Greenwood Drive and Sharon Drive. The debris was loaded into the back of flatbed trucks and hauled away.

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