Four days after Hurricane Matthew pummeled the Georgia coast, tens of thousands were still without power Wednesday.
Georgia Power reported less than 17,000 customers with outages at 6:45 p.m., down from more than 440,000 impacted by Matthew.
Officials restored service to more than 90 percent of Georgia Power customers by Wednesday.
“Savannah was one of the hardest hit,” the utility said. “We are working to have 90 percent of Savannah back on at midnight (Wednesday).”
The Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, a statewide trade association representing the state’s 41 EMCs, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp., made significant progress, too. Only 2,000 customers remained in the dark about 5 p.m. Wednesday, down from the nearly 100,000 southeast Georgia customers without power Saturday.
“The majority of remaining outages are scattered across Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Evans, Liberty and Tattnall counties,” EMC spokeswoman Terri Statham said in a news release. “Crews are working in some of the most rural parts of their systems and in the most heavily damaged areas from the storm.”
In some areas, about 95 percent of the distribution system was down due to storm damage.
“It is expected that the majority of remaining outages will be restored by late (Wednesday), but some widespread and remote outages will continue beyond today,” Statham said.
Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman called Matthew the worst hurricane in more than 100 years.
A Category 2 storm when it hit the Georgia coast early Saturday, Matthew killed at least three people in the state. Officials were unsure if a fourth reported death was caused by the storm. The death toll reached the hundreds in Haiti, 14 in North Carolina, three in South Carolina and at least six in Florida, according to The New York Times.
Tens of thousands of evacuees started returning home to coastal Georgia on Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Residents of St. Simons Island were initially prohibited from going home due to a sewage system shutdown but were since allowed back home.
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