The Liberty County Office of Emergency Management continues to allow limited access re-entry to residents who evacuated the east end of the county.
Liberty EMA Director Mike Hodges said access to areas east of Highway 17, which includes Isle of Wight, Limerick Road, Islands Highway and Retreat Road will be limited to residents who have ID proving they live there.
Hodges said emergency workers are still assessing damage on the east end but noted that area did get storm surge flooding.
Hodges noted the storm damage to the entire county was what he expected, with downed trees and power lines.
“We got hit pretty hard county-wide,” he said.
During a Sunday morning conference call with representatives of the municipalities within the county Hodges said most of the debris which had blocked roads has been cleared.
“With the city and the counties working together we have everything cleared,” he said about the major roadways. “We are waiting on the power companies now to wrap up most of the electrical issues.”
County Administrator Joey Brown said most of the customers served by Canoochee and Coastal Electric EMC have had their power restored. He said Georgia Power has a convoy of workers who arrived last night. Those crews are working on remove trees from power lines, re-connecting the high voltage lines and then re-establishing connections to residences.
“They are coming in full-force,” Brown said.
Hodges emphasized that power may be intermittent for a few days.
“Just because you have power now doesn’t mean it will stay on,” He said noting workers need to sometimes shut off power to sections while re-connecting wire that serve other areas.
Hodges also stressed those returning to homes should be aware they may have no power, no cell services and no cell service.
“People are coming home to homes that have no power and they need to be prepared for that,” Liberty County Commissioner Chairman Donald Lovette said.
Brown said one of the main cell towers owned by Verizon and utilized by several cell carriers and Comcast cable, has fiber optics wires that are damaged and in need of repair. He said the company has workers trying to reconnect the fiber optic wires and checking the tower. Until those repairs are made folks should be aware they will not have cable, internet access and possibly spotty or no cell service.
Liberty EMA Deputy Director Larry Logan said people who were shuttled out of the community will be returned by the same method they left. They will be shuttled from their current shelters and returned to Liberty Independent Troop Park. From there they will be shuttled to the locations they were picked up from.
Hodges stressed that their offices are aware of current outages and working with damage assessments crews in keeping their reports up to date as quickly as possible.
Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes reported his deputies are on patrol and said the dusk to dawn curfew remains in effect. He said they have not received any reports of looting and emphasized that people with life-threatening emergencies should call 911, otherwise folks should call the non-emergency number (912) 368-9111.
“If it’s an emergency call 9-1-1,” Sikes said. “We are responding to all calls.”
Anticipating the major clean up ahead, Brown said they are doing their best to get the local waste convenience stations open by tomorrow. He said there will be an update later today as to when those stations will reopen.
There will be an update after noon today. For more information call 368-2202.