ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A news conference with Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and City Staff was held at 9:30 a.m. in the Emergency Operations Center in the Judicial Building at 225 Pine Avenue, in downtown Albany.
Leaders said the purpose was to provide an update on storm relief efforts.
City Manager Sharon Subadan said that estimates to have power restored to various Albany neighborhoods range from one day to 14 days. Six thousand residents remain in the dark.
The city is operating a non-emergency help desk at 229-483-6226, 483-6227, and 483-6228.
The Red Cross assistance numbers are 229-891-7325 and 436-4845.
You can watch the playback of the conference HERE.
There was another conference at 2:30 p.m. at the Law Enforcement Center, open to the public.
WALB's Mike Fussell was live during that conference. You can watch it HERE.
Important things to note:
- The Gillionville Road sector of the electrical grid could be back on line in 1-3 days. The Turner City-Cromartie Beach area is looking at 3-7 days. The hospital and Malone Towers area may take another 2-3 days to be restored. The Willie Pitts Road area will take 3-5 days.
- Traffic on the Liberty Bypass is restored and all lanes are open.
- Lake Park, one of the hardest hit areas, could be 14 days receiving electricity.
- Assistant Manager Phil Roberson said that century-old pine trees in this area have caused a huge problem. He said they were blown down, taking dozens of power lies with them. He said the electrical infrastructure is in very bad shape from this neighborhood all the way to Lockett Station Road.
- Crews were just able to get into Merry Acres, and this area will be a heavy lift to get restored.
- If the meter and weather head of the residential power connection is missing or damaged, private electricians must be hired to repair or replace them before the city will try to re-connect those structures to the grid.
- Over 100 linemen have arrived from 17 of 21 other cities to assist Albany Water Gas and Light in the re-stringing of power lines, but again, down trees are a big issue that is slowing down this process. Much of the electrical structure will just have to be rebuilt.
- Cold weather and more rain expected this weekend will make things worse. The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Albany. Officials said it should be open until Monday and they will re-assess the need for shelters at that point. The city of Albany and the Red Cross has also opened the Albany Civic Center as a second shelter and transit will be provided to both shelters.
- The school board is working to decide if it will close schools on a district wide basis or on an individual level.
- Roberson said citizens can help by ensuring the storm drain in their areas are not blocked by debris, so the coming rain can flow, and does not back up on streets.
- Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for Dougherty, Mitchell, Baker and Calhoun counties on Thursday. City leaders said that receiving the state declaration means the county could also get the federal declaration.
- Sharon Subadan said to use common sense, and not to go cutting cable and wires, after a resident cut a Mediacom fiber optic cable yesterday, killing internet service for hundreds of people who are relying on this to stay informed.
- If you are trying to connect a generator, make sure there is an inverter on the generator before connecting to your power supply. If you do this wrong, you could electrocute a line worker who is trying to restore your power.
Safety after the storm
- Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said that residents who are still without power should call the police if they see someone or something suspicious near their home. He said that patrol units will be out monitoring entire blocks, but not individual homes, so residents need to let them know if they see something. He also said that he has put in a request for other agencies to come and assist with patrols in the impacted areas.
- The Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul said to make sure that any person you pay to do work on your damaged property is a licensed contractor. He warns that people will try to scam affected residents by offering to help, and once the resident pays them, they don't finish the work. Below is a list of things to check for to prevent a contractor scam:
- Make sure the contractor is licensed or bonded.
- Is he/she local? Check for state/county.
- Take a picture of their vehicle's license plate.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
- Get a written estimate for the work that needs to be done.
- Do NOT pay in advance. Wait until the job is completed to your satisfaction.
- If possible, get a local company to complete roof work, that way they are close by in case there is a leak.
- Check to see that their equipment is in good condition, professionals will care for their tools.
- If you are still not sure and they seem to be pressuring you, just say 'No,' and find someone else. Do not wait until they are done and the job is a mess.
- Keep an eye on them and make sure it meets local codes.
- Do NOT let them do any work that requires a permit without obtaining one. You will be fined lang after the work is done and they are long gone.
- Check with your insurance company for a list of recommended repair services, contractors and roofing companies, they will only recommend reputable companies.
- Be sure that they are insured, if anyone gets hurt on your property, you could be liable.
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