Idalia's GA Aftermath: 1 Dead, 44 Displaced, Thousands Without Power

GEORGIA — A day after Hurricane Idalia tore through southeast and coastal Georgia, resulting in at least one person dying and thousands without power, weather officials told Patch Thursday metro Atlanta should have a calm Labor Day weekend.

Though Friday afternoon has a 20 percent chance for a few pop-up showers and a possible isolated thunderstorm, the weather in the metro will significantly be dry with cooler temperatures the remainder of the week through Monday, said Meredith Wyatt, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City office.

“Enjoy the dry conditions,” she said.

Find out what's happening in Across Georgiawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Highs on Thursday will be in the mid-80s while Friday and Saturday temperatures are forecast to be in the low 80s. Temperatures Sunday and Monday should warm up to the upper 80s to low 90s.

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Lows Thursday night through Sunday night are anticipated to be in the low 60s.

Find out what's happening in Across Georgiawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Hurricane Idalia’s Aftermath

After making landfall along the Florida Big Bend as a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday morning, Idalia drenched South Georgia before targeting the Carolinas.

Wyatt said damage from Idalia was south of Macon, with winds of 40-45 mph reported in some counties near Macon.

Gov. Brian Kemp and James C. Stallings, director of Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, shared an update Thursday on the state’s recovery response.

Stallings said a person died in Lowndes County after a tree fell on a vehicle. The person’s name is not being released, pending next-of-kin notification.

“We are certainly keeping the family in our thoughts,” Stallings said. “Our hearts go out to that one family in Lowndes County.”

He said two shelters have opened to assist 44 people who were displaced as a result of the storm.

As of late Thursday morning, 77,000 Georgia Power customers were without power and 30,000 Electric Membership Corporation customers had no power, a dwindling number compared to the 277,000 total people who lost power Wednesday.

“With Hurricane Idalia clearing our state, Georgia Power has begun its full-scale damage assessment, along with immediate restoration efforts to restore power to customers. There has been significant damage due to high winds, heavy rain and fallen trees in the hardest hit areas in south and coastal Georgia. Damage assessment marks the first, critical phase of the restoration process. Georgia Power has crews in the field working safely and as quickly as possible to fully assess damage, which will allow us to provide more accurate estimated restoration times by end of day Thursday for the hardest hit areas in the state,” Georgia Power wrote in its latest update.

Idalia lingered in Georgia much longer than in Florida and South Carolina, Stallings said.

“We’ve got a long track of disaster and debris to look into,” he said.

South Georgia authorities reported a slew of downed trees in the area, with Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson posting on Facebook that more than 1,000 trees had come down during the storm Wednesday.

Kemp said he has received text messages stating Valdosta “will not be the same after the cleanup’s done and that it was as bad as anything they’ve ever seen.” The governor called Idalia fast and narrow.

The Valdosta Fire Department posted photos of flooded roadways and submerged vehicles while local authorities warned people to stay home as some streets were impassable.

The Georgia Rural Water Authority were working on outages in Berrien, Lanier, Clinch and Cook counties and providing emergency generator service, Stallings said.

Idalia impacted 32 cell phone towers in Echols, Lowndes, Cook, Clinch and Berrien counties. Since Wednesday, the majority of the towers have been restored.

Stallings said nine state routes remained closed; however, most bridges along the coast have been reopened.

Georgia suffered “significant crop loss” due to the storm, he said.

Kemp said he will travel Friday to South Georgia to further assess damage.

“Our focus, right now, is making sure that we get people’s power back on and making sure that people who may have big trees in their living room have shelter or other places to stay,” he said.

Kemp issued a state of emergency Tuesday in preparation for Idalia. The order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

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