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Irma serves Monroe County with rash of downed trees

Florida woman seeks refuge from Irma at Macon church

An Ocala, Florida woman, waited out Tropical Storm Irma at Riverside United Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.
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An Ocala, Florida woman, waited out Tropical Storm Irma at Riverside United Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

Middle Georgia counties are facing a rash of downed trees, knocked over power lines and blocked roads as Tropical Storm Irma lashed through the region.

Now, county crews are waiting until the storm subsides before mass cleanup begins and a sense of normalcy can return.

But throughout Monday, it seemed like a never-ending report of trees in Monroe County falling over.

“If you tell me where (trees are) not down, it would make our jobs easier,” Matthew Perry, director of the Monroe County Emergency Agency, said Monday afternoon. “It’s just wide open. Like everyone, we got smashed. This was a tropical storm that came through Central Georgia and that’s what you’d expect.”

Perry said county crews are prioritizing cleanup efforts such as removing trees that have been knocked onto roadways.

“Basically if it’s on fire, on a home, on someone or if it’s blocking a major thoroughfare … we’re clearing it first,” he said.

One speed bump in Monroe is the high wind speed preventing utility companies and the state transportation department crews from some of its relief efforts on Monday, Perry said.

In some cases, Perry said they’ve been unable to remove trees that have fallen onto power lines because of the potential of dangerous electricity.5

“That’s slowed us down considerably,” Perry said.

Red Cross shelter at North Macon Park offers 120 a place to ride out the remants of Hurricane Irma even as lights go out.

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