Atlanta weather | Winds down trees, but sunny skies ahead

Metro Atlanta and the rest of north Georgia remained under a wind advisory Thursday as strong winds gusting to over 40 mph hampered clean-up efforts in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly tornado outbreak.

Georgia Power reported early Thursday that about 8,800 customers were still without power statewide, with 5,600 of those in metro Atlanta and 2,500 in northwest Georgia.

Terri Statham, spokeswoman for Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, said at 5:30 a.m. that the number of EMC customers without power had been reduced from 14,000 to fewer than 5,000.

Statham said hundreds of utility poles, transformers and large spans of power lines had been knocked down by Wednesday’s tornadoes and high winds.

“Due to the extensive damage in north Georgia, it may be one or two days before power is fully restored,” she said.

In metro Atlanta, overnight winds gusting up to 44 mph uprooted trees in several neighborhoods. On Clermont Avenue in East Point, a falling tree damaged two houses.

The National Weather Service planned to send crews to hard-hit Bartow and Gordon counties on Thursday to survey the damage and determine the estimated strengths of the tornadoes that left one person dead and at least 17 injured.

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in Bartow and Gordon counties, and schools were closed Thursday in Gordon and neighboring Fannin counties.

“All of us send our condolences to the families and to those that have been affected by the tragedy on the human side and to those who will be suffering because of the loss of their homes and their property,” the governor said.

The storm system that spawned Wednesday’s tornadoes had moved up the East Coast early Thursday, leaving windy conditions across Georgia. Most of the state remained under a wind advisory until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said sunny skies will give the area a chance to dry out from the several inches of rain that accompanied Wednesday’s storms.

Minton said sunny skies and cooler temperatures are forecast through the weekend.

Afternoon highs will top out in the 40s Thursday and Friday, Minton said, with lows Thursday night around 30 degrees.

Friday through Sunday should be a little warmer, with highs in the mid-50s and lows in the upper 20s to mid-30s.

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