GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – Stranded cars, road washouts, mudslides, and many other dangers have already been reported to Gilmer County Public Safety late tonight amid continued flooding, March 25, 2021, as they continue planning and responding to the issues present in the night.
Officials are calling for citizens to remain indoors tonight with flashlights ready as any homes have already lost power. They are suggesting people charge your cell phones immediately in case of these situations.
Gilmer County Schools have already issued a delay to school starting tomorrow, Friday, March 26, 2021. According to the school system, “Storms overnight are expected to cause additional downed trees, power outages, and flooding.”
In the interest of safety, the schools have instituted a 2-hour-delay as of now. The statement said they will send out a text-blast to parents in the morning.
With the continuing rain forecasted well into the early hours of Friday, Gilmer County Public Safety released a statement on the river in Ellijay saying, “The United States Geological Survey is predicting the Coosawattee River to crest at 14.7′ around 7:00AM. That’s nearly 4′ above major flood level – and extremely…extremely dangerous. We cannot stress enough that no one should be driving through ANY flooded area. There are already hidden washouts, mudslides, stranded cars, roads and trees under water, and other dangers we do not even know of as yet.
Please, please stay at home Friday morning for a few hours. We will keep you informed about the conditions in the county as they change.”
Along with their statement comes reports of several places already under water or expected to be by morning including the Pilgrims’ Pride parking lot. The American Legion building is already flooded under several feet of water as is the Georgia Power Substation and Harold Hefner River Park.
Public Safety has also reported that State Highway 52 will be closing at 15 feet of flooding.
With plans in place for evacuations and recovery, Public Safety is working through the current storm alongside GEMA, the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia, and local authorities.
A Tornado Watch has also been issued until 2 a.m.
According to the National Weather Service, “Expect minor damage to tree limbs and blowing around of light…unsecured objects. Heavy rain may cause temporary street flooding especially in poor drainage areas.”
Several people have already reported driveways washing out, culverts displacing, and roads submerged and uncrossable. Public Safety is responding and should be contacted in cases of emergency.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”