LOCAL IN-DEPTH: More than 15,000 without power in Savannah area following hurricane

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said about 1,300 customers are without power in his community. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said about 1,300 customers are without power in his community. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Officials assessing damage, cleaning up in Dorian’s wake

Hurricane Dorian has toppled trees and knocked out power to more than 15,000 customers in this region, including more than half of those on Tybee Island.

While they are still assessing the damage and waiting to see what happens during high tide this afternoon, local authorities say it could have been a lot worse. The storm passed by the Georgia coast well offshore and is aiming now at the Carolinas.

“We just dodged a bullet,” said Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher.

MORE: Hurricane lashes Tybee Island with wind, rain

Eight trees fell during the storm, impacting power lines here, Wilcher said. There are also people without power, he said, on Wilmington Island and Isle of Hope.

In all, about 15,490 customers are without power in the area, said Georgia power spokeswoman Swann Seiler, adding that a transmission pole snapped in the Skidaway Island area, causing a large power outage there.

“This wind is pretty heavy out here, so we are looking at probably picking up more outages as the day goes on,” she said.

About 1,500 additional utility workers are on their way here from Atlanta, Seiler said.

September 4, 2019 Tybee Island - A surfer hit the waves here Wednesday as Hurricane Dorian approached. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
September 4, 2019 Tybee Island - A surfer hit the waves here Wednesday as Hurricane Dorian approached. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

“They have been traveling most all morning. So it is a matter of getting people on the ground and out in the field,” Seiler said. “It will be a long and methodical day. Everyone is very organized and getting it done.”

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said about 1,300 customers are without power in his community. Tybee officials, he added, have not yet completed a damage assessment on the barrier island. Meanwhile, they are waiting to hear from state transportation officials about whether they will need to close the Bull River Bridge for a damage inspection.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” the mayor said, “but as of now we are looking pretty good.”

Thunderbolt Mayor Beth Goette said the wind brought down a power line near Rowland Avenue, knocking out power to some people in her town. She credited the teamwork of county and town officials.

“This is the third time I have gone through this as mayor and they were well-prepared and well-organized,” she said. “We worked together as a team to keep the residents informed and to try to keep the town as safe as we possibly can. I think it went really well.”