Storm takes out trees, power

Winds up to 100 mph ripped walls of Waynesboro buildings

Special
Winds ripped the wall off this building in Waynesboro
  • Follow Metro

One of Augusta's Masters visitors got a rude awakening at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Back | Next
A car was abandoned on Gibbs Road when a storm knocked down trees and power lines in the area early Tuesday morning.   Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
A car was abandoned on Gibbs Road when a storm knocked down trees and power lines in the area early Tuesday morning.

Gunner Garrity was sleeping in the front bedroom of his rental house on North Eisenhower Court when an enormous elm tree came crashing down about five feet from his bed.

"It sounded like one of those big coolers loaded with beer bottles in ice, and it just lands on solid concrete," said Garrity, a camera operator from Orlando.

The early morning storm raced across the region, knocking out power to thousands, downing trees, including one along Augusta National Golf Club's famed Magnolia Lane, and generating winds up to 100 mph that stripped the outer walls off two manufacturing plants in Waynesboro.

"It blew the whole front off both of them," said Waynesboro Fire Department Deputy Chief Robert Parrish.

Parrish said officials with the National Weather Service checked damage in the city Tuesday morning and said the storm failed to produce a tornado. However, they estimated that straight-line wind speeds reached between 90 mph and 100 mph.

"(The wind) just peeled if off," Parrish said of walls at the Alstom Grid plant on the north end of the city.

At the Legion Industries plant in the same part of town, a brick facade was blown away and the roof caved in, Parrish said.

"With both plants we had natural gas leaks, so we had to get the gas shut off," he said.

Though numerous trees fell, Parrish said no one was injured and some homes sustained only slight roof damage.

Garrity said an AT&T worker told him the way the tree was rooted, it could have easily fallen into the house instead of away from it. Luckily, it didn't, and a neighbor's truck wasn't damaged, even though Garrity said the tree had loomed perilously across the top of it.

Crews came by in the afternoon to restore power, Internet and cable to the house, but the elm remained sprawled across the front yards of two homes, nearly blocking them from view.

The storm briefly kept patrons from entering the Augusta National grounds Tuesday for the second day of practice rounds. One of the trees that lined the famed Magnolia Lane entrance was reportedly downed.

The Lake Olmstead area endured the brunt of the storm, said Sharon Bennett, an administrative assistant with Augusta's emergency management department.

"It kind of started at Powell Road and came across to the Lake Olmstead area," Bennett said. "It was heavy winds and rain damage with a lot of trees, particularly diseased trees, that fell."

Crews worked through the night to clear debris and remove downed trees, Bennett said.

About 5,800 customers in Richmond County and 3,500 customers in Columbia County remained without power as of 8 p.m., according to Georgia Power Co. spokesman Jim Barber.

Across the state, 68,000 Georgia Power customers were still without power. Barber said 14,000 customers in the east region were without power, which was down from a peak of 40,000 in the region that includes Augusta, Evans, Thomson and Waynesboro. Barber added that the Augusta area had more than 25 broken poles and 50 "spans of wire" down.

McDuffie County fared well, said County Fire Rescue and Emergency Management Chief Bruce Tanner. Barber said 2,100 customers in the county remained without power.

"There were some trees down and stuff like that, but it wasn't anything major," Tanner said.

No one was injured, he said.

Road crews in Columbia County were concentrating their efforts Tuesday morning in the Evans and Martinez areas, said Construction and Maintenance Services Director Matt Schlachter.

However, Schlachter said the storm damage was everywhere.

"It's kind of widespread," he said. "There's no confined area. It's kind of all over the county."

Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker said at least 32 roads in the county were littered with downed trees and tree limbs, and power lines had fallen on at least 16 roads.

An uprooted tree on Oakley Pirkle Road ruptured a gas line, she said. A fire truck responding to a call while it was still dark got stuck after running over a tree the driver failed to see.

Downed power lines and a shortage of manpower to repair them were impeding the county's road crews, so Schlachter said he was unable to give an estimate on when the roads will be cleared.

Even so, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said in an e-mail that no one was injured, and most roads had been cleared.

Anyone seeing a downed tree in the road should call 311 to report it, Schlachter said. However, calls concerning downed power lines should be made to 911.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatright said the company's crews had been working since early Tuesday morning.

While Georgia Power crews were removing trees and restoring power lines near Joe Ma's Stevens Way home in Martinez, he was working with a hand saw removing parts of the large pine tree in his yard that fell onto his home.

The tree fell between 2:30 and 3 a.m., and Ma said it sounded like a bomb exploding.

"My wife was so scared, she wouldn't go back to the bedroom," Ma said.

The fallen trees nearby also caused power to go out in his Stevens Points subdivision home.

Staff Writer Luke Thompson contributed to this article.

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Gunner71
0
Points
Gunner71 04/05/11 - 10:25 am
0
0
in the pic above...how

in the pic above...how exactly did that car get on top of those branches? did the person not see that crap in the road? wow...clueless!

KSL
126915
Points
KSL 04/05/11 - 11:31 am
0
0
You mean like the fire truck

You mean like the fire truck driver mentioned in the article? Or could it have fallen right in front of the vehicle which did not have time to stop?

AutumnLeaves
7143
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/05/11 - 12:08 pm
0
0
In some portions of Columbia

In some portions of Columbia County streets are not lit at night, so you could easily come around a short sight-distance area and not see a tree lying across the road in time to stop if you just have head-lights lighting your way. And it could have been falling as you approached the spot as KSL mentioned above, too. I just hope everyone is okay. Have heard of at least two deaths due to the storm before it arrived in the CSRA.

Gunner71
0
Points
Gunner71 04/05/11 - 12:41 pm
0
0
i'm guessing it's from the

i'm guessing it's from the driver D.W.H.U.A. - you figure out what that means.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/05/11 - 01:34 pm
0
0
Hey, its 1:30, when do you

Hey, its 1:30, when do you think GA power is going to come by and get this live power line out of my yard?

happychimer
16977
Points
happychimer 04/05/11 - 02:01 pm
0
0
Taylor this is from wrdw.

Taylor this is from wrdw. Georgia Power is reporting approximately 16,000 customers without power in Richmond County and Columbia County with over 25 broken poles and 50 wire spans down. In addition, 4,500 in the Thomson area and 600 in Waynesboro are still without power. Due to the extent and severity of the storms, they are not sure how long it will take to restore power to all areas.

Gunner71
0
Points
Gunner71 04/05/11 - 03:01 pm
0
0
@ Taylor B: how do you know

@ Taylor B: how do you know it's live?

Frank I
1174
Points
Frank I 04/05/11 - 04:13 pm
0
0
haha Gunner...

haha Gunner...

rmwhitley
5542
Points
rmwhitley 04/05/11 - 04:13 pm
0
0
Here in Canton, we were
Unpublished

Here in Canton, we were blessed. Damage in the towns and counties surrounding us, but no major problems. Hope everyone in the CSRA is fine!

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 04/05/11 - 04:19 pm
0
0
Downed trees around Belvedere

Downed trees around Belvedere Elem.....power out from 3 am to 10:30 am...no cable or internet till around 3 pm...all in all ok..........

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/05/11 - 04:43 pm
0
0
In the land of electricity,

In the land of electricity, its live until you know its dead. Its still connected to the pole, the same pole providing my neighbors power. 4:45, still no info.

JENNPAT
241
Points
JENNPAT 04/06/11 - 11:43 am
0
0
you know everyone was lucky

you know everyone was lucky there was no deaths or injuries just a lots of damage homes and down trees and lines Thank God it was no worse But I sure was afraid all night because I live in a mobile home But with all the wind and rain I didn't even fell it I just hear all of it and that was enough I guess God was with me I just felt bad for all the Master guess I guess they were surprised about the weather but you never know about Augusta's weather

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs