2017-09-14 / Front Page

Hurricane Irma moves through downing trees, power lines


A windy, rainy, dreary, debris-filled day Monday made for less than desirable working conditions after the wind died down. Rayle EMC linemen were among those working in the rain through the night to restore power. A windy, rainy, dreary, debris-filled day Monday made for less than desirable working conditions after the wind died down. Rayle EMC linemen were among those working in the rain through the night to restore power. Most of Wilkes County was without electric power for a major part of the day on Monday and some were still without power late Tuesday afternoon. High winds associated with Hurricane Irma packed a wallop here even though the center of the tropical storm was still south of the Georgia-Florida border Monday morning.

Beginning as early as 10 a.m. Monday, power started blinking or was completely off in many parts of the county. The eastern part of Washington and just outside the city limits to the east seemed to be the first hit but by mid to late afternoon, practically the whole county was without power. Local electric crews worked when possible and through the night to repair local damage to power line but explained that the bigger problem was in the transmission line services by Georgia Power.

By about 11 p.m. Monday large portions of the county’s power were restored though some remained without power.

According to Wilkes County EMA Director Blake Thompson, 5.25 inches of rain fell at his office and the peak wind speed recorded was 31 miles per hour. The highest wind speed in Georgia was recorded at the Atlanta Airport at 64 miles per hour.

Most power was restored and most of the roads in Wilkes County had been cleared by the end of the day on Tuesday thanks to the tireless work by county employees under the direction of Richard McAvoy, Department of Transportation crews, and city employees. In addition,

Rayle EMC linemen, Georgia Power people, fire departments, first responders, EMS, and others “have done a great job,” Thompson said, and he pointed out that many of them had been on the job straight for more than 20 hours.


A tree that fell across South Alexander Avenue (top photo) took out power lines, broke a telephone pole, and trashed a transformer while a huge tree fell across West Robert Toombs Avenue (bottom photo) blocking traffic at the Golden Pantry intersection. 
(Storm photos by Sparky Newsome and Tom Duggan) A tree that fell across South Alexander Avenue (top photo) took out power lines, broke a telephone pole, and trashed a transformer while a huge tree fell across West Robert Toombs Avenue (bottom photo) blocking traffic at the Golden Pantry intersection. (Storm photos by Sparky Newsome and Tom Duggan) There has been no official estimate available as to how many trees were felled by the storm or how many roads blocked but it was major tree damage according to Thompson. “I’m sure we’ll have some property damage reported to but the 9-1-1 calls are still being handled,” he said. He added that he already knew of trees on three houses and one automobile, as of Tuesday Morning.

EMS and the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office answered every call received and checked on patients. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities were also checked. PruittHealth lost power and was on a generator part of the day Monday.


(top to bottom) The local unit of the Georgia National Guard prepared and rolled out to aid those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irma. A large tree was uprooted at the home of Charlotte Pope Simmons. Another tree was broken into pieces on West Robert Toombs Avenue, and a downtown business location just off The Square had its awning rearranged by the high winds on Monday. Meanwhile, the flag at Regions Bank tugged mightily at its pole. (top to bottom) The local unit of the Georgia National Guard prepared and rolled out to aid those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irma. A large tree was uprooted at the home of Charlotte Pope Simmons. Another tree was broken into pieces on West Robert Toombs Avenue, and a downtown business location just off The Square had its awning rearranged by the high winds on Monday. Meanwhile, the flag at Regions Bank tugged mightily at its pole. No injuries specific to the storm had been reported as of Tuesday afternoon.





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