“We dodged a bullet,” Liberty County EMA Deputy Director Larry Logan said Thursday morning. Hurricane Michael ravaged the Gulf Coast of Florida, and tore through Southwest Georgia, but Liberty and Long counties were not significantly impacted by the storm.
Logan said as of 9 a.m., that 1,240 homes were without power in the local area. He said there were no reports of any major damage.
Logan added that all critical infrastructure – such as police and fire departments – are up and running in the local community.
Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles stated in a Facebook post, that the curfew for Long County was lifted as of 8 a.m. Nobles said local officials are asking motorists to be aware that convoys of vehicles with relief supplies heading to Florida will take U.S. Highway 84, and to give them the right-of-way.
Liberty County Emergency Management Specialist Robert Dodd sent the Courier a 9 a.m. Tropical Storm Michael update at 9 a.m.
“Michael is now a tropical storm and has mostly moved out of our area and in to South Carolina,” Dodd wrote. “Some tropical storm force winds will continue until late this morning and early afternoon. Conditions will continue to improve throughout the day with additional rainfall possible. The potential for localized flooding is low.
“There remains a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for Liberty County until further notice,” he added. “A coastal flood advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. this afternoon. There remains a high risk of rip currents and high surf advisory until 8 p.m. this evening.”
Liberty County offices will be closed this morning and will reopen to the public at 1 p.m. this afternoon. Residents are urged to report any power outages to their power companies.
Georgia Power reported that as of 5:30 a.m. Thursday, there were more than 200,000 customers without power in Georgia and more than 2,700 individual cases of damage, including broken poles and lines, which the company is working to repair. Damage and outages are primarily concentrated in Middle, South and West Georgia.
“As the storm clears the state, the company has secured additional resources and is prepared to respond with approximately 3,900 personnel from the company, other Southern Company operating companies and assisting utilities ready to restore power as quickly and safely as possible following the storm,” a company news release said. “All of Georgia Power's resources are being held and dedicated to storm restoration efforts in the state following Hurricane Michael.”
Once the storm leaves affected areas, the company must wait until conditions are safe for damage assessment teams to enter the field and begin the restoration process, followed by repair crews, which could take several days, or longer, depending on the amount of damage and safe access to the area, according to Georgia Power officials.
“As weather conditions improve, restoration efforts will accelerate, but it could take an extended period of time for all customers to be restored,” the release said.
Residents are urged to watch for downed power lines, which can be hidden by debris or fallen trees. Citizens are also cautioned to not touch any downed wire to attempt to remove tree branches from power lines – it can kill. Also, don’t step in standing water or saturated ground where downed lines may be present. These could be electrified. Avoid chain link fences. These could be electrified by a downed line out of sight and conduct electricity over great distances.
Georgia Power customers can subscribe to a free Georgia Power Outage Alert service to receive personalized notifications and updates via text message at www.georgiapower.com/storm. Customers can report and check the status of an outage 24 hours a day by contacting Georgia Power at 888-891-0938.