The majority of outages came from strong winds and trees taking down power lines throughout the Carroll EMC service area, according to spokesman Jay Gil. He said crews would continue to work through Tuesday night to decrease the outages.
Gill said Carroll EMC crews were helped by crews from Snapping Shoals EMC, Walton EMC, Jackson EMC, Amicalola EMC and North Georgia EMC, working together to replace broken poles and repair downed lines.
“The storm system hit the west Georgia area pretty hard and fast,” said Tommy Cook, Carroll EMC construction manager. “Wet soil and heavy winds are a bad combination, causing tree damage to our lines. There was no central path to this storm, so damage was spread out evenly throughout the system, making it very difficult to repair.”
Gill said at the peak of the outages Monday night, about 9,900 homes were without power, about 20 percent of Carroll EMC customers. He said the damage was spread out among the six counties served by the EMC, with the worst damage in northern parts of Haralson, Polk and Paulding counties, and to the south in many parts of Heard County. The number of outages had been reduced to about 5,000 by 7 a.m. Tuesday.
He compared the number of circuits damaged Monday to the destruction caused by Hurricane Opal in September, 1995.
“Instead of a trunk line or substation being knocked out Monday, we had thousands of individual service lines go down,” Gill said Tuesday afternoon. “That requires each one to be serviced. Many members had their meter boxes literally ripped off the sides of their homes. Where one member may have experienced only heavy rain and a flicker of power, others have been without power for almost 18 hours. Others have a great deal of property damage from the wind and fallen trees.”
Georgia Power reported 886 outages in west Georgia at 3 p.m. Tuesday, with 520 of those in the Tallapoosa area, according to Mark Williams, Georgia Power spokesman. He said that at the peak Monday night, 63,000 customers statewide were without power, but that number had been reduced to about 16,000 by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Carroll County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Padgett said most of the storm damage came around 6 p.m. Monday, from straight line winds reaching peaks between 40 and 60 miles per hour. No storm-related injuries or fatalities were reported, he said.
“The damage was extensive all over the county,” Padgett said. “We received reports of 15 to 20 homes suffering minor to moderate damage from fallen trees. Two mobile homes were destroyed, one located between Highway 113 and U.S. 27 and another off Highway 100 in the western part of the county.”
While there were no indications of tornado winds, he said hail was reported in several parts of the county, with diameters ranging from pea size to more than an inch. Some Heard County residents reported hail the size of golf balls.
Carrollton Assistant City Manager Tim Grizzard said lightning damaged a traffic signal on North White Street Monday.
“Debris piled up on some streets, but none had to be closed,” Grizzard said. “We lost power to the water plant and wastewater plant for a few minutes, but nothing long term that could cause problems.”
“Carroll EMC employees have been at it for over 36 hours, away from their families and homes,” said Chip Jankins, CEO of Carroll EMC. “They have worked tirelessly through the night and all day Tuesday, trying to re-establish power lines, manage our systems, handle customer phone calls and basically, operate around the clock. Many people don’t realize the amount of damage the west Georgia area experienced Monday night.”
Gill said customers still without power, who have not yet reported it, should contact Carroll EMC at 1-877-968-8243, or though the Carroll EMC website, www.carrollemc.com. He reminded people to stay clear of any downed power lines, no matter how they appear or where they are located.