Gov. Nathan Deal said it was still early to tell the extent of Hurricane Michael’s damage after it roared through Georgia, but urged caution Thursday as state emergency workers tried to remove storm debris and restore electricity.
“Be patient. The most important thing is to get roadways cleared and power restored,” he said. “But past experience tells us that one of the greatest impediments to doing that is people getting in the way of the people trying to help you.”
The governor said about 15 hospitals and 11 nursing homes were among the facilities that lost power but are relying on generators, and that more than 450,000 customers across the state were waiting for electricity to be restored.
Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said he feared the state’s peanut, pecan and cotton harvests were devastated by the storm.
“Our worst dreams are being realized,” said Black. “There’s going to be a lot of work to do.”
The fast-moving storm charged into Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane and swept out of the state as a tropical storm, leaving a trail of destruction behind. It killed an 11-year-old girl in southwest Georgia, the hardest-hit part of the state.
Earlier Thursday, President Donald Trump declared a federal state of emergency in Georgia, allowing the state to tap into a slate of federal resources, including money, debris removal and protective measures aimed at supplementing state and local efforts.
The president is expected to visit the area next week to survey damage from the storm, and Deal encouraged Trump to stop in Georgia to see the damage for himself.
“It is still very early in the process, and many of the agencies are still in the assessment stage,” said Deal.
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