Michael: An ‘unprecedented event’ for Albany, Dougherty Co.

Downed trees were reported throughout Albany and Dougherty County from Hurricane Michael....
Downed trees were reported throughout Albany and Dougherty County from Hurricane Michael. (Source: WALB)
Published: Oct. 12, 2018 at 6:40 PM EDT
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DOUGHERTY, GA (WALB) - Officials said Hurricane Michael, an “unprecedented event” of a Catergory 2 storm, struck Albany and Dougherty County with its wrath Wednesday night leading into Thursday morning.

Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County commission chairman, said he wants everyone to request help as much as they need.

Cohilas also offered gratitude for the patient and resilient residents following the storm.

Very few people have electricity, according to Cohilas.



There is no estimate about when individual homes will have power again, according to Jenna Chang, Dougherty County emergency management agency director.

Chang also said residents shouldn’t call about power outage requests because it is tying up phone lines for those who have an emergency.

Twenty-two cell towers lost power Thursday, according to officials.

Public safety personnel are operating on altered schedules, according to Cohilas. Officials are working to get accurate information out, Cohilas said.

Kevin Sproul, Dougherty County sheriff, said the curfew is still in effect until Monday morning.

Residents are asked to go to and work only during the curfew hours, Sproul said.

Michael Persely, Albany Police Chief, said the curfew worked fairly well.

However, Persely added, businesses were broken into and arrests were made.

Residents also are asked to stay off the roads if possible.

Sharon Subadan, Albany city manager, said damage has been assessed with drones.

Thirty-three circuits are without power.

Approximately 134 visiting linemen and tree crews are in Albany, Subadan said, and more are on the way.

A total of 100 crews are cleaning up debris.

Officials also pre-requested help from Georgia Power before the storm but representatives haven’t been released to the area yet because of how long the list of needs is, according to Subadan.

Water continues to be a challenge, officials said, but water should be restored Friday unless water lines around residences are damaged.

Approximately 50 percent of telecom customers are without power.

Even if power is restored, officials said, issues could remain with traffic lights. It’s critical drivers treat intersections like four-way stops, officials said.

Hurricane Michael brought widespread damage in Albany and Dougherty County. (Source: WALB)
Hurricane Michael brought widespread damage in Albany and Dougherty County. (Source: WALB)

Sam Allen, Dougherty County emergency medical services (EMS) director, said the department was able to meet all emergency 911 needs.

Now, Allen said, EMS is getting a number of respiratory distress calls because of anxiety attacks from the storm and situation.

Allen said the situation is dire, but asked the public not to call 911 to report a power outage.

Cedric Scott, Albany fire chief, said the department is fielding a number of requests before they can be made to GEMA.

Officials are reaching out to contacts in other states.

State and federal partners are aware of the issues and Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) reported the need in his sphere of influence, according to Cohilas.

Cohilas also stressed that Michael’s aftermath is a Southwest Georgia problem and the focus is on the basics like food, water and electricity.

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