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.”
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – As tropical storm Zeta moves through the area, heavy rains have caused Nottely River to crest out of its banks and widespread power outages.
Union County received approximately 5 inches of rain and 100 trees fell as a result of tropical storm Zeta. Three water rescues took place, but no injuries. Also, 8,000 homes are without power.
Crossing Creek RV park has flooded at the Old Blue Ridge Hwy.
Pappy’s off Hwy 129 and right on the Nottely River is underwater and several homes, in the same area, have water up-to their porches. Many of these homes are on stilts in case of the Nottely River flooding. The Pigs Gone Amuk mini-golf course across from Jim’s Smokin’ Que is completely submerged.
Granddaddy Mimm’s Distillery posted the following on its Facebook page: “Due to the overwhelming flooding at the distillery we will be closed today. We may need to call on our community to help fill sandbags. It’s getting very close to coming in the building. Thank you for your continued support!!!”
Some individuals were preparing to kayak over to some of the businesses at Pappy’s when Fetch Your News left the area.
Butternut Creek in Meeks Park is back within its banks.
Reports are also coming in that in areas the Nottely River has reached the porches of homes built close to the river.
The UGA Extension Office fields were also submerged.
At 11 a.m., Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris issued a storm weather update:
“We have had nearly 5 inches of rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning. We have lots of creeks out of banks. We have had 3 water rescues but no injuries. Road Dept has about 100 trees down they have been working on all over the county. We have about 8000 households currently out of power. We are aware of two of homes damaged from trees. No reports of injuries. Thanks to all Union County Emergency Services personnel for your hard work which will probably continue all day and into the night. A special thanks also to Blueridge Mountain EMC and all water departments.”
At 8 a.m., the Blue Ridge Mountain EMC (BRMEMC) “has recorded over 150 outages affecting over 15,000 members across most of our system.” More power outages are expected as tropical storm Zeta continues to pass through. BRMEMC crews are out and working to quickly restore power. However, they do ask for patience.
The tropical storm warning is in effect across north Georgia and portions of west central Georgia. The National Weather Service released at 6:45 a.m. that the threat of heavy rain and flash flooding is diminishing, but flooding of minor river, lakes, and streams is still possible. Also, “maximum sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts up to 60 mph are possible, which will bring down trees and powerlines.”
Citizens are asked to keep their cellphones charged, remain calm, and find a safe shelter.
For assistance with power, internet, or public safety, contact one of the following:
- Blue Ridge Mountain EMC: 706-379-3121
- Windstream: 611 or 1-800-481-3407
- Union County Road Dept: 706-439-6062
- GA DOT: 706-781-3957
- State Road Conditions: 511
- 911 Center Non-Emergency: 706-439-6038