Michael Aftermath: Worst storm damage ever seen for Albany, Dougherty Co.
(WALB) - Hurricane Michael’s widespread damage across Albany and Dougherty County is the worst both have witnessed from a storm, officials said.
Chris Cohilas, Dougherty commission chairman, said the damage is worse compared to the January 2017 storms because of how widespread the damage is.
Sharon Subadon, Albany city manager, said the loss of power and water is a “utilities crisis.”
Officials said the major issue following Hurricane Michael is no electricity and power.
The concentration following Michael’s impact, officials said, is getting the basics of food, water and electricity back.
Medical facilities are being powered by emergency power.
Officials said additional resources will be needed across the city and county.
Phoebe released the following statement:
“Due to storm conditions and limited power in our hospital facilities, we are temporarily modifying our visitation policy to one caregiver per patient. Additionally, we have very limited food preparation capabilities, so people should not come to the hospital expecting to be served. We are in the process of assessing damage but remain fully functioning to meet the healthcare needs of our community.”
— Joel Wernick, Phoebe chief executive officer
Jenna Chang, Dougherty County EMA director, said emergency operations center staff are working around the clock.
Officials are going out into the community to start preliminary damage assessments, which is needed to get any assistance from state and federal officials.
Over 90 percent of the system is down.
Ten broken gas service lines have been reported but all are safe at this time.
Downed transmission lines have been reported.
Responders are constantly on the road, officials said, starting work at 1 a.m. Thursday.
Thirty-three visiting linemen and 45 crews are on the way.
A total of 95 city personnel are engaged in cleanup currently.
A full unit from the National Guard is on the way to assist in efforts and daily operational requests as needs arrive, according to Cohilas.
EOC workers are working in zones to cover every part of the community, according to Chang.
Two drone teams are currently flying to capture damage.
Wells are No.1 priority because don’t want to lose water infrastructure, officials said.
Linemen were staged days in advance ahead of the storm, officials said.
No deaths or injuries have been reported at this time.
Gov. Nathan Deal said in a Thursday morning press conference that 150 military police will be sent to Albany to aid the Georgia State Patrol.
Michael Persley, Albany police chief, said the biggest issue is the concern for public safety in staying off the roads.
Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul said residents shouldn’t walk on the roads also.
Sproul said even if trees haven’t fallen, they still may.
Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base is hosting extra emergency personnel, according to Sproul.
Sproul also said inmate population is safe and allowed them to make calls to family members before the jail locked down at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
This is a developing story and when we will update as more information becomes available.
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