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High winds topple trees, cause little major damage in Newton County
Storm damage1
Apprentice Lineman Caleb Nix of Snapping Shoals EMC works to help install a new power pole to replace one high winds broke and downed its attached power lines off Woodlawn Road in Covington Thursday, Oct. 29. — Special Photo | Scott Fuss

COVINGTON, Ga. — Hurricane Zeta's rapid charge through Georgia Thursday, Oct. 29, left Newton County with numerous fallen trees but no injuries and little major damage.

High winds from the storm caused trees to fall in at least 10 areas throughout the county — cutting power as they fell on power lines.

However, that appeared to be the extent of the damage, said Jody Nolan, director of the Newton County Emergency Management Agency.

“We, as they say, dodged a bullet this time,” Nolan said. 

Newton County Sheriff's Office also reported no major damage other than some decayed trees falling, a spokesperson said.

Nolan said he received reports of a tree falling on a house but not causing significant damage on Oak Grove Drive. A fallen tree also blocked the roadway on Henderson Mill Road, he said.

Trees also fell in the areas of U.S. Hwy. 278 and Ga. Hwy. 11; Ga. Hwy. 212 at Fairlane, Oakhill and Brown Bridge roads; and County Road 213 at Gaithers Road.

Other areas where trees reportedly fell included Dial Mill Road; Stone Lea Drive; E Road at Hollifield Road; Alcovy Road at Alcovy Trestle Road; and Eagle Drive and Eagle Parkway near Eastside High School, Nolan said.

He said he had prepared to monitor areas along the Yellow River for flooding, including the floodprone Riverside RV Park in Covington. However, the storm did not produce enough precipitation to create flood conditions, he said.

Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corp. had as many as 1,800 customers reported without power out of the 31,000 it served in Newton County at about 5:30 a.m. as the storm began moving through in full force.

It also reported 13,000 outages out of the 99,000 customers throughout its eight-county service area.

"We appreciate your patience as crews are (working) as quickly as possible to restore outages. We'd also like to remind you to stay safe and stay away from fallen power lines and trees," officials said on the co-op’s Twitter feed. 

It reported major outages spread from western Newton to Porterdale to Mansfield.

Areas in western Newton County along Cowan and Smith Store roads, Georgia highways 81 and 36; and Christian Circle near the Rockdale County line reported outages.

The city of Covington reported 1,947 customers without power at the height of its outages Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Walton EMC, Georgia Power and Central Georgia EMC also reported outages in the small parts of the county each served.

Newton County School System called off classes Wednesday night in preparation for the storm. 

County election officials chose to keep the regularly scheduled times for early voting at Porter Memorial Library in southwestern Newton and the county Administration Building in downtown Covington.

Storm damage2
Senior Equipment Operator Jeff Hopkins of Snapping Shoals EMC works to help install a new power pole to replace one high winds broke and downed power lines in Newton County Oct. 29. — Special Photo | Scott Fuss
Storm damage 3
Part of a tree that fell near a home on Flowers Drive in Covington is shown. - photo by Special Photo