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Deal visits to survey damage in Augusta area

Governor visits to view damage, recovery efforts

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 12:16 PM
Last updated 10:08 PM
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Two weeks after a winter storm paralyzed metro At­lanta, Gov. Nathan Deal said he was “very pleased” with state and local response to this week’s storm after observing the Au­gus­ta area from the air with the heads of Richmond and Columbia counties.

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver (left) and Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross (right) flank Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal as he addresses the weather during a news conference at Daniel Field.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Mayor Deke Copenhaver (left) and Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross (right) flank Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal as he addresses the weather during a news conference at Daniel Field.

SLIDESHOW: DEAL VISITS

View more photos from the event

SLIDESHOW: WINTER STORM

View more photos from the event

“The major roadways all seemed to be moving very well,” Deal said to a crowd of Atlanta reporters who arrived at Daniel Field airport just ahead of Deal on a Georgia Army National Guard helicopter.

Deal extended through Sunday the state declaration of emergency that affects the area. He spoke Thursday with Federal Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, Georgia Emer­­gency Management Agen­cy and Home­land Se­cur­ity officials to determine whether the storm response “rises to the level that would trigger federal financial assistance to the state,” according to spokesman Brian Robinson.
In metro Augusta, a “significant National Guard presence,” including 156 members and 41 vehicles, had been deployed to assist, Deal said.

Though as much as 75 percent of area Georgia Power customers remained without electricity at the time of Deal’s visit, Mayor Deke Copen­haver said he was “pleasantly surprised” by what they had seen from the air, that about 95 percent of roads were clear.

Across Augusta, “no neighborhood was singled out” or spared damage and power outages from what appears a “once-in-a-lifetime storm” for the area, he said.

Asked to compare the state’s response to the storm to the Atlanta snow two weeks ago, Deal said drivers in Augusta stayed home as instructed.

“The greatest difference is we had cooperation from the public,” he said. “It is really miraculous that we have not had fatalities on our roadways with as much snow and ice that we’ve had.”

As soon as Georgia Power gets a downed major transmission line back in service, power will likely be restored to many in the area, Deal said.

Columbia County Commis­sion Chairman Ron Cross thanked National Guard Lt. Col. Bobby Christine for coordinating the Guard response in Augusta.

Georgia Department of Trans­portation board member Don Grantham, of Au­gusta, praised the department’s decision to deploy 48 vehicles from elsewhere in the state to ensure that state-maintained roads were clear and safe. Interstate 20 and other main roads never had to be closed, Grantham said.

Grantham, whose home was one of thousands that remained without power Thurs­­day, said the response had pulled the community together.

“We have seen so much community effort,” he said.

Interim Augusta Adminis­trator Tameka Allen said many local emergency, law enforcement and traffic personnel had been working all night, doing “a tremendous job” to keep the public safe. Allen said she expected cleanup from the storm to “take awhile” but had no immediate estimate.

Augusta Fire Chief Chris James said downed power lines remain a tremendous hazard and urged residents to stay away from them and off the roads.

HALEY TO VISIT TODAY

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will visit Aiken today to view storm damage and meet with local officials and utility companies on power-restoration efforts.

She will fly to the Aiken airport at 10:30 a.m. and tour various locations by car. She will meet with officials at 11:15 a.m. in the city’s Administration and Finance Building at 135 Laurens St. SW.

Comments (6) Add comment
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kissofdeath
413
Points
kissofdeath 02/13/14 - 03:23 pm
1
12
My power been out since

My power been out since yesterday and I reside off Walton way on the West side , these Georgia Power guys "sucks".

augusta citizen
9317
Points
augusta citizen 02/13/14 - 04:06 pm
13
1
Huh?? kissofdeath

Why would you say these "Georgia Power guys "sucks""? Have you been out around the clock working in dangerous conditions? What have you done to be responsible for yourself and resolve your problems? I guess it's their fault that every time they fix something another tree or branch falls on it? Good grief man, cut these hard working people some slack!

Gage Creed
17181
Points
Gage Creed 02/13/14 - 06:04 pm
2
1
The west side of Walton Way?

The west side of Walton Way? I imagine your power will be the last to be restored as your neighborhood has been given the kiss of death...

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 05:58 pm
0
0
More power to georgia power. What about the hero worship.
Unpublished

More power to georgia power. What about the hero worship.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 05:59 pm
0
0
how many lives has the sheriff's office saved?
Unpublished

how many lives has the sheriff's office saved?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 05:59 pm
0
0
how many babies have been recused from the freak storm?
Unpublished

how many babies have been recused from the freak storm?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:01 pm
0
0
General Riverwood's Plantation has not had a "power bilnk"
Unpublished

The place everyone want's to live in CC.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:02 pm
0
0
What about all of the spoiled food in the grocery stores?
Unpublished

What about all of the spoiled food in the grocery stores?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:03 pm
0
0
Had the cell towers gone down we would all be dead.
Unpublished

Had the cell towers gone down we would all be dead.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:04 pm
0
0
cold weather speedos were shared with the visitors. he he
Unpublished

cold weather speedos were shared with the visitors. he he

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:05 pm
0
0
Deke saved the day. Back from the beach in time to fly.
Unpublished

Deke saved the day. Back from the beach in time to fly.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:06 pm
0
0
Tens of thousands are without power. News? Repent. Repent.
Unpublished

Tens of thousands are without power. News? Repent. Repent.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:07 pm
0
0
Why hasn't the Omnipotent Obama saved us?
Unpublished

Why hasn't the Omnipotent Obama saved us?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/13/14 - 06:08 pm
0
0
What a political two for. Deke & Deal. A used car lot????
Unpublished

What a political two for. Deke & Deal. A used car lot????

KSL
129142
Points
KSL 02/14/14 - 06:12 am
1
2
With that attitude, I hope it

With that attitude, I hope it is still not on.

corgimom
32212
Points
corgimom 02/14/14 - 07:34 am
2
1
They can't fix everybody's

They can't fix everybody's power at the same time, somebody is going to be first, and somebody has to be last.

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