Superstorm Sandy’s path of destruction might be hundreds of miles away, but Georgians are feeling its effects and stepping up to help victims along the east coast and mid-Atlantic.
Crews from Snapping Shoals EMC and other EMCs from across the state have been sent to Maryland to help restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
SSEMC’s Bruce Watts, Clint Ellis, Anthony Spurling, Ryan Mathis, Jonathan Plunkett, Michael Cronan, Richie Clark and Jason Powell, as well as crews from Altamaha EMC in Lyons, Carroll EMC in Carrollton, Central Georgia EMC in Jackson, Flint Energies in Reynolds, Irwin EMC in Ocilla, Jackson EMC in Jefferson, Middle Georgia EMC in Vienna, Mitchell EMC in Camilla, Southern Rivers in Barnesville and Tri-County EMC in Gray,
Jim Wright, vice president of training, education and safety for Georgia EMC, said Georgia’s co-ops have been in constant contact with co-ops in the path of Hurricane Sandy.
“It took just one phone call from Maryland to get our crews and equipment moving in their direction,” Wright said. “We’ve also had preliminary discussions with several other states and additional crews will move out immediately if we receive their call for help.”
While Wright can’t say specifically in what order power will be restored, many utilities follow a standard industry practice to repair and energize its lines. First, feeder and primary lines are repaired, then secondary and service lines next. This method restores power to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.
Georgia EMC and other utilities have arranged through the Georgia Department of Public Safety to provide for the expedited movement of utility trucks and equipment through Georgia heading to the mid-Atlantic.
In recent years, EMC crews have worked alongside co-ops in South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia and Florida.
Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation provides electric service to about 95,000 residential, commercial and industrial consumers in parts of Rockdale, Henry, Newton, DeKalb, Butts, Walton, Jasper and Morgan counties.
Ga. National Guard to help
Some Georgia National Guard soldiers are also being called up to help provide storm relief.
About 20 Georgia guardsmen assigned to two Army Chinook helicopters were scheduled to deploy Tuesday afternoon from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. The citizen-soldiers belong to B Company of the 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment.
Officials say the Georgia guardsmen are headed to Raleigh, N.C., to stage with National Guard troops from other states in advance of disaster response operations. With flooding and snow from Sandy affecting much of the East Coast, it's unknown where they'll ultimately be sent to help with recovery efforts.
Though Georgia is safely out of the way of most of the storm’s effects, forecasters say high winds fueled by Hurricane Sandy are expected to continue in parts of Georgia.
A high wind warning issued by the National Weather Service is scheduled to continue until 8 p.m. Tuesday for a half-dozen counties in the northeast Georgia mountains. The warning covers Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Lumpkin and White counties, and includes the cities of Dahlonega and Cleveland.
Cold weather was also filtering in to parts of north Georgia on Tuesday. Forecasters said a freeze warning will be in effect from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday for northwest Georgia and parts of west Georgia. Temperatures were expected to dip into the upper 20s in those areas. The freeze warning covers several counties and includes the cities of Calhoun, Rome, Cartersville, Carrollton, Newnan and Peachtree City.