Storm cleanup continues

Two dozen Fort Gordon soldiers were treated for injuries caused by a storm that blew through the Augusta area Wednesday evening.

The soldiers were participating in a Reserve Component Annual Training and Red Dragon exercise when the storm hit their bivouac area, according to a news release.

They were taken to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center for treatment from storm-related debris and damaged tents. The majority returned to work.

The storm, which brought winds up to 67 mph, caused problems in many other areas in the hours after it passed.

A tree toppled onto a Richmond County Sheriff's Office vehicle Wednesday night while the deputy was driving on Milledge Road. The deputy was not injured, said sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver.

Deputies scrambled throughout the morning Thursday in an attempt to keep traffic moving in the many intersections where traffic signals were out.

Gordon Highway intersections were still without working signals more than 12 hours after the storm passed.

Police scanners buzzed Thursday morning as deputies were dispatched to downed power lines and trees and damaged homes and vehicles.

In the mornings after damaging storms, Weaver said, he sometimes has to have deputies keep working past the end of their shifts until the situation is under control.

"It does tie us up for a while," he said Thursday. "But even though it was pretty bad last night, we were able to cover everything with existing people."

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, about 40,000 Georgia Power customers in the east region were without power. The majority of the region's outages were in the Augusta area.

As of 10:15 p.m. Thursday, 15,000 Augusta-area customers were still without power. About 11,500 are in Augusta, 2,500 in Evans and about 1,000 total in Thomson and Waynesboro.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Konswello Monroe said all power should be restored by midnight tonight. Monroe said crews try to restore power to areas with major facilities such as hospitals first.

Jefferson Energy Cooperative recorded a maximum of 12,000 outages after the storm, according to marketing representative Steve Chalker. As of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, 1,762 customers, mainly in Richmond and McDuffie counties, were still without power, spokesman Geoff Potter said.

South Carolina Electric and Gas restored power to virtually all of its local customers Thursday evening.

As of 10:15 p.m., SCE&G's Web site showed only two customers without power, in Barnwell County.

The majority of the damage appeared to result from the wind.

Meteorologist Jeff Linton, of the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C., said Bush Field and Daniel Field airports collectively recorded less than 1 inch of rain, leaving Bush Field roughly 4.5 inches below average rainfall for the year.

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