Recovering after Michael: Day 4
SWGA counties assess damage, aid is provided
SOUTHWEST, GA (WALB) - Hurricane Michael’s wrath ravaged a number of counties in Southwest Georgia. Now, counties and towns are assessing damage and providing aid following Michael’s wake.
Gary Coker, the Newton mayor, has requested additional help with the power outage.
Georgia Power is sending 500 linemen Friday to start working to restore power, according to Sherry Bailey, the county manager and EMA director.
Mitchell EMC is out working. A power restoration estimate has not been determined, Bailey said.
GEMA is also in Baker County and trying to aid by giving the county and the City of Newton each a generator that will allow each to pump the water system.
GEMA also is sending three 18-wheeler trucks to set up around the city of Newton.
Pods called Meals, Ready, to Eat (MRE) are in the process of being set up at seven locations in the county and Newton.
Free water is being given out at Patmos Freewill Baptist Church. Coker will be giving out water at East Baker Center.
The Central Florida chapter of the American Red Cross gave Newton residents food and drinks at a gas station as part of a tour.
Crisp County Emergency Management Agency said deputies from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, a Department of Natural Resources Strike Team, Forestry Commission, State Patrol and inmates from the Department of Corrections aiding in the county.
All are aiding in storm cleanup.
EMA officials don’t have an estimate of when power will be up, but officials said it could be a couple days or even up to weeks, so they’re asking people to be patient.
Pecan orchards were badly damaged, EMA officials said.
Officials said the damage is worse than both Tropical Storm Irma and the January 2017 storms.
The main priority, EMA officials said, is power restoration.
For debris, the landfill will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost-free grace period to drop off woody materials and limb debris from Hurricane Michael will be until Saturday October 27.
Proof of residency is required and it is limited to individuals (non-commercial only).
A number of dump stations have opened in Decatur County to collect storm debris.
- Transfer Station -1005 Avenue C.
- Decatur County Road Department - 1201 Airport Rd.
- Bainbridge City Office - 1503 Pierce St.
- Bainbridge Public Safety Headquarters - 510 E Louise St.
The Red Cross has opened a temporary shelter at Jones-Wheat Elementary School Gymnasium, 1401 East Shotwell St.
A distribution center for water, tarps and MREs is open to the public at Bainbridge Southwest Regional Technical College, 2500 Shotwell St. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at Southwest Baptist Church will be served at 5 p.m. on Friday at 1101 Faceville Hwy.
The City of Albany is warning residents that if you are without power to shut your main breaker off to your home or apartment.
Dougherty County residents can take storm-related debris to the Dougherty County Solid Waste Landfill, 900 Gaissert Rd., at no charge.
The service is only for Dougherty County residents.
The drop off is from Oct. 13-14, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) is seeking volunteers to assist with disaster relief efforts.
For those who own a chainsaw and are experienced in using power tools or would like to work in another volunteer capacity, a volunteer assistance meeting will be held on Oct. 13, at 7 a.m., at the Old Coke Plant at 925 Pine Drive Ave. Those interested are asked to come dressed to volunteer.
COAD is also requesting all faith based organizations in Albany and surrounding areas to attend an emergency faith based disaster meeting on Oct. 13, at 11 a.m., at Merry Acres Event Center, located at 1504 Dawson Rd.
In-kind donations are also sought for Albany disaster relief efforts, including the following items:
- Bottled water
- Plastic tarps
- Gas cards
Donations can be delivered to 925 Pine Ave. from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Saturday.
Inmate visitation at the Dougherty County Jail has been canceled for October 13 and 14 due to loss of power, according tot he Dougherty County Sheriffs Office Facebook page.
Fitzgerald Utilities was 100 percent without power Thursday morning, Mayor Jim Puckett wrote on Facebook.
Crews were working non-stop to restore power, the mayor said.
“But I promise you that everyone available is working as hard and quickly as they can to restore your power,” Puckett wrote. “The storm was extremely bad. Power lines, power poles, and trees are down all over Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County.”
Most major roads are clear in Grady County, according to the Grady County Emergency Management Agency Facebook.
Officials posted that residents should plan for power to be out two to three weeks.
All roads should be clear by 5 p.m. on Friday.
Residents are also encouraged to be cautious of low hanging power lines and debris on the sides of the road.
On Friday, the National Guard will be at the Oakland Library, 445 Oakland Parkway, to distribute ice, water and tarps.
Cory Thomas, Miller County EMA director, said the entire county is without power and water.
Numerous trees and power lines are down in the City of Colquitt.
Thomas said the damage is the worst damage he has ever seen for Colquitt but the community of Colquitt is strong and they are going to get through this.
“We have a small community and we always pull together. We are going to pull through this as a community," Thomas said. "I think we are going to rise out of this and maybe be even a better community then we were. this event will not define who we are but it will define where we go.”
Thomas said they are working on getting free food to the community.
Miller County is giving out free water to the community.
The National Guard handed out bottled water at the Miller County Board of Education building.
“We are here to do all we can and to bring all the resources of the state and federal government as well as local communities too help us to recover from this disaster and to do everything we can to meet their needs through this process,” Thomas said.
The Sumter County Board of Commissioners has approved the placement of yard debris on the county right of way for removal, according to the Americus Police Department Facebook page.
The debris can only contain vegetative material such as leaves, limbs and trees, per Environmental Protection Division regulations.
Any debris piles that have household items will not be removed from the right of way, the post stated.
Debris removal must be placed on the right of way no later than Nov. 11.
- Open businesses following Hurricane Michael
- South Georgia school and business closings
- Curfews, evacuations issued ahead of Hurricane Michael
Thomas County has set up a staging area for citizens to haul their limb and tree debris, according to the Thomas County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page.
The site is located on US 19 South on Woodruff Farm Road. The site opened Oct. 11.
Approximately 90 percent of paved roads have been cleared. Sixty percent of dirt roads have also been cleared.
No fatalities have been reported in Thomasville or Thomas County, according to officials.
Hundreds of trees are down throughout Thomasville, city officials said.
Power was successfully restored to Archbold Memorial Hospital, according to Thomasville officials.
Thomasville officials said there is not a scheduled day for yard trash debris but have asked that you follow the following guidelines:
- Debris cannot be longer than 6 feet in length.
- Do not mix construction materials, household waste, or appliances with vegetation.
- Do not block sewer drains or place debris into roadways if all is possible.
- Do not pile debris under any overhead obstruction or near property that can be damaged (wires, low hanging limbs, mailboxes, pipes, etc.).
A water distribution tank will be set up to give water to Turner County residents, according to the Turner County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
The water distribution tank will be set up at East Washington and North Main in the Dollar General parking lot, the post stated.
Residents can bring containers to fill if water if needed, starting Friday at 1 p.m.
Turner officials are working to set up more distribution systems, the post stated.
Water is available for Worth County residents at the Ag Pavilion until 7 p.m. Friday, according to the Worth County EMA Facebook page.
The limit is two cases per household and an ID is required.
City residents are able to get water too, the post stated.
Worth County EMA is working to get more water, according to the Facebook post.
WALB will update this story once more information on aid and assistance and damage reports are made available.
Know of any assistance or aid being provided in your city or county? Join the WALB: Community Voice group on Facebook to add your information.
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