Chuck Ray, Director of Field Operations for GEMA, walks through a projected map of possible ice accumulation while working in the GEMA command center in southeast Atlanta.
Photo: Ben Gray
Photo: Ben Gray

Update: More than 150,000 without power across Georgia

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, more than 150,000 customers across Georgia were still cut off from power — an estimate that kept rising, even as utility companies put other customers back online.

Only a few scattered power outages were reported early Wednesday, but as ice formed, they grew to nearly 27,000 around 8 a.m., according to Georgia Power. More than 14,000 of the outages were in metro Atlanta.

By a little after 9.a.m., Georgia Power alone reported about 59,000 customers without power. That was up to 77,000 by 10 a.m. and to 85,000 ten minutes later. By 11:20 a.m., it was over 111,000.

In mid-afternoon, more than 134,000 customers were without power, but power had been restored to thousands who lost power earlier in the day.

Among other power companies, Greystone Power reported roughly 10,700 customers out — most of them southeast of Atlanta, according to spokeswoman Ashley Kramer.

The outages represent just about 10 percent of the company’s total. And they are more than half the Greystone customers in Fulton County.

Walton EMC said roughly 1,700 were out.

Walton officials said 1200 of those were in Gwinnett, 400 in Rockdale and 170 in Walton.

So far falling limbs and treacherous roads have been the biggest issues for Walton EMC crews in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale and Walton counties, said Kevin Underwood, a line crew supervisor for the electric co-op.

“If that wind kicks up, it will bring trees down,” Underwood said.

Walton EMC serves 121,000 meters in parts of 10 counties.

Underwood said that sleet, though dangerous, if preferable to freezing rain, which coats everything it hits, including trees and power lines.

Priorities for the Snellville office include maintaining power to Eastside Medical Center and the emergency services, he said.

Outages were being reported throughout the metro area.

For each customer, the loss of electricity could mean loss of lights and heats with temperatures still hovering below the freezing mark.

Among the largest groups of customers hit were more than 5,000 around Riversdale and 4,300 in Union City.

But the clusters of the powerless were all over.

Georgia Power said 2,284 lost power northeast of I-75, an area straddling Mt. Zion Blvd. and Lake Harbin Road. Not far away, about 761 customers along Jonesboro Road northeast of 75 were also without power.

Among others affected: nearly 800 customers along Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Doraville, more than 400 customers along Hugh Howell Road between Tucker and Stone Mountain, and 375 customers west of South Cobb Drive just northeast of 285.

Earlier in the morning, a couple of incidents had turned off power to 2,017 customers near Canton, most of them east of 575 and northeast of Scott Mill Creek. The company expected to have power returned early this morning.

Check your Georgia Power outage status.

About 1,250 customers were without power east of Atlanta near Thomson. About half of those affected were north of I-20 along Route 17. About half of those affected were south of I-20, also along Route 17.

Further east, nearly 6,000 customers near August were without power. And there were many pockets of outages — often several hundred customers each — between Augusta and Atlanta.

Athens, in contrast, was still largely untouched by mid-morning.

The area reported no active outages Wednesday morning despite National Weather Service predictions for between .51 and .75-inch ice accumulation, an amount which usually results in felled trees and power lines. But as of 9:35 a.m., Athens remained plugged in. A fallen tree closed both lanes of the area’s Outer Loop near Atlanta Highway, but Athens-Clarke County police cleared the road by 6:10 a.m.

Nearby schools and colleges, including the University of Georgia, had already cancelled school for the day after Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for Clarke County and Oconee County earlier this week.

— Staff writer J. Scott Trubey and freelance writer Nicholas Fouriezos contributed to this report.

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