WJBF – Coverage you can count on continues with the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, which was weakened to a Tropical Storm at around 5 P.M.
Screven County was one of the counties in the CSRA that was hit hard on Wednesday with storms stemming from Idalia.
Crews will be out Thursday morning to continue moving fallen trees, like the one behind me, off the roads.
EMA phones were ringing off-the-hook on Wednesday evening, from people reporting hazards on the roads.
Power outages across the county were into the thousands, roads were flooded, and crews were maxed out.
“We’re gonna do our best to get as many roads cleared today until we may have to put our workers down for a little while, get a few hours sleep and then back up at daybreak. We really don’t want to work too much into the night, because it gets more dangerous at nighttime and injuries and stuff. We want to eliminate having any injuries at all,” says Harvey Cryder, EMA Director of Screven County.
However, when it rains, problems pour into Augusta’s low lying neighborhoods. There was proof of that on Wednesday on Virginia Avenue near Butler High school, but it’s not flood water creating concerns its sewage.
Residents should watch their step on Virginia Avenue as raw sewage mixed with rainwater bubbling out of a manhole on the street. This is the same thing that happened in late June after heavy thunderstorms, and neighbors are getting very tied of this.
“It’s just devastation we thought it was fixed we see now it’s not fixed the city is just doing a bad job about fixing our streets and stuff and it needs to be fixed and fixed immediately,” says Sharon Zellars.
Zellars says that she has called Augusta 311 as well as her commissioner to get this problem fixed, and she says that she is not waiting for the city to respond.
Over in North Augusta, one family was shaken up by a loud boom only to walk outside and see the large tree that was in front of their home, now, on top of it.
The Duggan family has lived in this home for the past six years, and they say the tree has been there for more than thirty years.
Everyone in the house was able to evacuate, and no one was reported injured.
“The house shook and then Anthony said ‘Jenna, that was a tree falling on the house. We open up the door and the tree was at our front door, and then we had to go around it to look at it– the tree is on top of our house,” says Jenna Duggan, the homeowner.
The Duggan family will be able to stay in their home on Wednesday night, and cleanup is scheduled for Thursday morning.
Back in Augusta, shelters opened up Wednesday night to give people a place to stay due to the storm.
As the weather continues, shelters are opening their doors to people who need housing, and city leaders say they’re making sure safety comes first.
District 1 Commissioner Jordan Johnson says preparing for dangerous weather is nothing new to the city of Augusta.
“The city has taken action to make sure that those who are in need of emergency shelters during inclement weather had that, and the commission made an action may be a year or so ago to lean on our partners in Augusta, the Salvation Army, and others,” says Commissioner Jordan Johnson.
The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope put out extra cots for people to stay overnight, and if the shelter went to capacity, the Augusta Rescue Mission added extra beds for men.
“Salvation Army will be 24 hours during inclement weather so that folks who are in need of emergency shelter will have those options at their disposal,” says Commissioner Johnson.
City workers are also preparing for the aftermath of Idalia.
“Crews will be out making sure that any effects the storm has had on our community will be taken care of, whether that is fallen branches, trees in the roads, or clogged drains,” says Commissioner Johnson.
Commissioner Johnson also says as the storm passes through, they will continue to make sure people are getting the resources they need for shelter.
Meanwhile, Bamberg and Allendale Counties saw some wind and rain come through on Wednesday.
Residents say that it has been raining nonstop and there has been the occasional bit of thunder that could be heard.
The rain did cause some problems which caused for trees to fall onto Highway 321, which have been cleaned up.
“A very slight possibility. That’s something we kind of play by ear. We don’t normally have to have them, which is a good thing. And we normally shelter people who are traveling from the Beaufort County coastline and they’re not really moving there in place,” says Kara Troy, the Allendale County Emergency Management Director.
Aiken County saw plenty of rainfall, and they also saw several fallen trees in the area.
The Sheriff’s Office says one tree fell on Langley Dam Road, blocking the street.
Authorities say another tree fell on Huber Clay one, and that left huge limbs on the ground.
“I don’t know that we’ll see 8 inches of rain, but we could certainly see it in localized areas where we get some of these bands. So, I don’t anticipate we’ll get that much rain, but we’ve already gotten a lot of rain,” says Paul Matthews, the Aiken County EMA Director.
Other than the fallen trees and some road blockages, there was no reported significant damage.
In Emanuel County, storm preparedness began on Tuesday.
Emanuel County Schools were canceled and county offices, with the exception of emergency services, closed at noon.
By the midday on Wednesday, wind speeds increased to nearly 30 miles per hour, with visibility around two miles, according to the WJBF News Channel 6 Weather team.
The Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office says while they expect some falling trees, they’re prepared to have them cleared off the roads as soon as possible.
“I, along with several of my deputies, have chainsaws in our vehicles, and if they are small enough that we can move them, we’ll go ahead and cut them up and clear the road. And this is a small community. We know a lot of people that have tractors and, if they’re nearby, we’ll get them to come by with their front-end loaders and they’ll just push them out of the way,” says Emanuel County Sheriff Jeffrey Brewer.
Emergency responders in Emanuel County expect conditions to be safe by Thursday.
And crews across Georgia made their way to Jenkins County to restore power.
Strong winds and heavy rain ripped through the county all afternoon and evening. The storm took down trees and knocked out power, but thanks to An Electric Cooperative, Planters EMC is bringing in at least 50 line workers.
They say they will stay at Oak Hill Baptist Church in cots provided by Jenkins County EMA.
They also say that they are arriving to town on Wednesday night and will work around the clock to fix lines damaged by the storm.
Several thousand meters are out as well.
Matt Brinson/General Manager, Planters EMC:
“We’re in a rural community and we just don’t have the hotel and motel facilities to house these linemen so, when it’s time for them to rest we will bring them here,” says Matt Brinson, the General Manager of Planters EMC.
Matt Brinson says the first crew in Wednesday will be deployed around midnight or when it is safe.
Brinson hopes to get power restored within 2 to 3 days.
Count on News Channel 6 for all of your latest coverage.