Cleanup efforts continue in wake of Irma

It appears the Augusta area weathered Tropical Storm Irma without major, widespread damage, though spokespersons in Richmond and Columbia counties said assessments are still ongoing.

 

While thousands remained without electricity Tuesday, power companies had crews working to reduce that number. Most outages were caused by falling trees and limbs.

A snapped power line, and several other power poles damaged by felled trees, left residents around the Keg Point Drive area in Columbia County without power since 8 a.m. Monday, according to resident Jeremy Graham.

Graham, who lives two houses down from the area of Keg Point Drive that has been closed to through traffic, said he had not received an update from Georgia Power as of Tuesday afternoon.

According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts in Augusta topped out at 58 mph. The total rainfall was 4.12 inches in Augusta, 4.9 in Columbia County and 6.67 in Burke County.

All of that rain in Richmond County, which exceeded 5 inches in some areas, caused an overflow of 1.7 million gallons from the sanitary sewer system into Butler Creek late Monday into early Tuesday, which is classified as a major spill, the Augusta Utilities Department reported.

Spokeswomen for Richmond and Columbia counties said no other information was available about damages.

According to the Augusta engineering department, storm debris in roads and on rights of way should be cleaned up by week’s end. Residents’ storm debris will be collected during the regular pickups, which will be one day later than normal this week. Residents’ debris piles cannot be larger than 5 feet by 5 feet by 10 feet. No single item may be larger than 5 feet long, and no item can be heavier than 50 pounds.

Traffic engineering workers were out Tuesday making repairs and replacing equipment. John Ussery said by email that they had repaired or replaced about 30 traffic lights and a few dozen street signs. As Georgia Power restored power, they were working on the traffic signals, he said.

Throughout Georgia:

3,000 Georgia National Guard troops worked overnight and into Tuesday helping to clear debris and assist local authorities.

250 traffic signals are still down across the state, with 150 signals missing altogether.

179 roads remained closed, much reduced from the 1,100 that were closed because of storm damage. That number was fewer than 100 by early afternoon and all interstates and major state routes were open.

15 Georgia hospitals lost power but all had backup power and remained open.

In Aiken County, the Wagener Town Hall roof was damaged and a church in Vaucluse was hit by a tree, Capt. Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office reported. Aiken County Emergency Management reported normal operations Tuesday. Though damage assessment teams were out in the field Tuesday, no widespread damage was anticipated.

In Burke County, the sheriff’s office, fire department and public works teams were called for help with about 60 downed trees. Amylia Lester, a public information officer, said the Burke County staff was thankful that residents reported damages and that they abided by the stay-home request. No automobile accidents were reported, Lester said.

Staff writers Tom Corwin and Abbigail Lennon contributed to this article.

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