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.”
This major outage comes from collateral damage in the storm as Amicalola says that strong winds brought trees down on power lines this morning.
However, currently over 1,900 members are without power. The majority of these outages came from one major incident. Amicalola EMC issued a statement saying the outages are “primarily in northern Gilmer County where trees have brought a three phase line down in two places, resulting in 1,484 members out in that county.”
They did note that other outages are scattered throughout the service area, including Pickens County where 200 members are without electricity near the Pickens/Gilmer county line.
The company said that crews are working and all power will be restored as soon as is safely possible.
Citizens are reminded that they should never go near a downed power line and always assume they are still energized.
Authorities are continuing to help wherever possible and the Gilmer Public Safety Department issued a statement saying, “The Weather Prediction Center has identified a Slight Risk for excessive rainfall across the majority of north and central Georgia.”
Though authorities are noting an attention to possibilities, no indications of serious danger are being delivered. The large number of outages in Gilmer are from these two spots on a major line.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Ravaged by a storm across North Georgia, counties across the region are responding tonight to provide for citizens as best as possible.
The Gilmer County Public Safety Department has enacted plans late this evening due to the storm.
A shelter has been opened for anyone displaced from their home, or otherwise needing a place to stay. The shelter is located at the Civic Center, 1561 S Main St.
Much of Gilmer County suffered high winds and heavy rainfall throughout the night. Outages for Amicalola alone reached a total outages number between 11,000 and 12,000. The vast majority of those were in Gilmer County, reading 7,210 just before 3:00 a.m. according to their site.
Families sheltered in bathrooms and safe zones just after 1:00 a.m. as emergency warnings and tv weather reports urged immediate action with a tornado warning.
While downed trees, power lines, and other wind damage have already been reported from the storm, no reports on any extreme damage have been seen yet.