Over 200,000 Without Power, Flooding Underway as Deadly Hurricane Michael Plows Into Georgia, Alabama

Drew MacFarlane
Published: October 10, 2018

As deadly Hurricane Michael continued its march inland after making landfall along the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon, rain and wind pelted Georgia, knocking out power and downing trees in the southwestern corner of the state.

Possible tornadoes touched down near Roberta, Perry and Fort Valley in central Georgia. 

Crawford County officials say a possible tornado damaged five homes near Roberta, the Associated Press reports. No injuries were reported.

Farther north, a reported tornado touched down Wednesday evening in the Atlanta area. No reports of injuries or damage were immediately available. 

More than 187,000 outages have been reported in Georgia, notably Seminole, Miller and Decatur counties, where over 90 percent of customers are in the dark as the storm marches northeast.

Michael crossed into southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday as a major Category 3 hurricane. By 8 p.m., it had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane. 

Authorities say a curfew is in place in Cordele, Georgia, until 8 a.m. Thursday. The town in southwestern Georgia is home to more than 11,000.

Georgia residents will continue to see the effects of Michael through Thursday. Heavy rain, damaging winds and possible tornadoes could cause widespread power outages in southwestern portions of the Peach State. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal expanded his state of emergency to include 108 counties.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael," Deal said in a statement. "In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant."

The governor also activated 1,500 Georgia National Guardsmen to be on the ready. 

(MORE: The Latest in Florida)

The Georgia Department of Transportation deployed 400 workers to southwest Georgia Wednesday in preparation for storm recovery efforts. Another 400 workers were deployed to southeastern Georgia, the AJC reports.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert declared a state of emergency Tuesday for the county ahead of the storm, WMGT reports. The order takes effect 6 p.m. Wednesday. Macon is home to more than 93,000 residents.

In Albany, which is home to 73,000, Jenna Wirtz, director of the Dougherty County Emergency Management Agency, said her biggest concern was wind damage.

“We’re going to see some sustained winds, and that’s not something we are accustomed to seeing around here," she told the Albany Herald. 

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk told the Valdosta Daily Times they don't intend to put a curfew place, but the city's more than 56,000 residents are asked to remain indoors. 

"People need to get inside and stay inside and be very, very cautious after it's over of downed power lines and leaning trees," Paulk said. "If you don't have to get out, don't go out right after the storm.

Paulk noted that deputies will only respond to the most urgent calls once weather conditions deteriorate. 

Alabama

More than 58,000 homes and businesses in southern Alabama were without power as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, according to poweroutage.us.

At least three people were injured in Dothan when a tree fell on a home Wednesday afternoon, WSFA reports. One of the victims is in critical condition.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed a request for an emergency declaration from President Donald Trump, which would allow preemptive federal assistance for debris removal, more generators and other resources, the governor tweeted on Wednesday.

The federal request comes after the governor declared a local state of emergency, which went into effect at 3 p.m. Monday in anticipation of the damage Hurricane Michael could cause in the state.

"I’ve issued a state of emergency in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael," Ivey tweeted.

"Alabama is once again in the path of a hurricane, but I know Alabamians will once again come together and be prepared for whatever Michael may bring,” she said in a statement.


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