Tropical Storm Zeta closes most of Gilmer with outages

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ELLIJAY, Ga, – Gilmer County is picking up the pieces today after Tropical Storm Zeta tore through the twin cities early this morning. Massive Power outages, closures, road blocks, debris, and damage are continuing to accumulate today as citizens are beginning the clean-up process.

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Gilmer County Citizens and Gilmer Public Safety help in cutting and removing fallen trees from Highway 382 after Tropical Storm Zeta.

Both Gilmer’s County Offices and School System have closed today with only minor amounts of staff reporting if they are safe to do so. Emergency Officials are responding as well, but not alone today. Gilmer County Public Safety posted a photo this morning (right) as they were aided by citizens on Highway 382 in cutting and removing trees blocking the major road.

The Sheriff’s Office posted a statement today saying, “We have all of our available personnel, along with Gilmer Public Safety, Fire/EMS, utility crews, and phone company crews making their way to try and clear trees and roadways of debris along with restoring power as quickly as possible. Our dispatchers are inundated with calls about downed trees and power outages.”

outages

Debris has fallen over most of the county and blocked some from leaving homes until they can clear it themselves or find help from neighbors.

The Sheriff’s Office is also asking citizens to direct power outage calls to your local utility company and phone and cable outages to your phone/cable provider so as not to overwhelm the department as they deal with emergencies coming from the storm. Heavy flow of calls to 911 about downed trees and outages could clog the lines and possibly prevent someone with a life-threatening emergency from connecting.

However, downed live power lines in areas and on roads should be immediately reported to 911 and avoided.

According to Amicalola EMC, over 38,000 customers from just their own company have been affected by outages and the cast majority of those are still without power as of 1:30 p.m. Gilmer County alone has a report of 11,700 customers without power.

outages

With over 11,700 homes without power in Gilmer alone, emergency crews and power company crews are spread thin across the area attempting to respond and recover from the damgage.

Officials are asking that if you must travel today, “Please use extreme caution. We strongly suggest staying at home for a while, as most business will be without power or otherwise closed.”

The Sheriff’s Office asked for patience from citizens saying that officials and power workers are working as diligently as possible. In an effort to help customers understand the process, Amicalola EMC stated, “A substantial number of trees are down in every county, with a high number falling across our power lines, bringing the lines and power poles down with them. Our crews must first gain access to the damaged area, survey the damage, then begin a plan of action. Every storm is unique with its own characteristics, sometimes making storm restoration efforts more difficult than other times. Please be assured that our crews are out working and will restore power to every member just as soon as is safely possible. We know there will most likely be numerous poles to replace, and we will give updates as the information becomes available.”
Road closures are changing today as new areas are discovered and other areas are restored. Readers can stay up to date on these closures through Gilmer’s Public Safety and Road Conditions pages for social media.

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