While power was restored to thousands of midstate homes and businesses Thursday, work likely will continue into the weekend. Also, crews worked throughout the day clearing debris from roads.
Utility crews spent the day in Macon and Houston County clearing up downed power lines and working to restore power to roughly 26,000 properties after Hurricane Michael swept through the area.
That work is expected to extend into the weekend while local government crews also began cleaning up some of the damage from Hurricane Michael. Throughout Macon and Houston, dozens of trees were blown over, homes and businesses were damaged and some roads were blocked.
Fortunately, Hurricane Michael did not wreak the same level of havoc as Tropical Storm Irma did to Middle Georgia in 2017.
About 11,300 Georgia Power and Flint Energies properties in Bibb and Houston remained without power late Thursday afternoon. By comparison, Irma left 55,000 without power just in Bibb.
“Our crews and contractors will continue to work though tonight to restore service to customers whose homes and businesses can accept service,” said Theresa Robinson, external affairs manager for Georgia Power.
In Macon, crews removed the tree debris from 107 roads on Thursday. Thirty-six streets still had to be cleared once downed power lines were safely removed.
Various state and local agencies as well as other organizations and community partners helped coordinate the disaster plans and response efforts to Michael, Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said.
“When you see the amount of damage this storm caused just a few counties south of us, we were very fortunate here,” he said. “And of course our thoughts and prayers go out ... because they’re struggling with much greater damage.”
EMA Director Spencer Hawkins said the lessons learned when dealing with Hurricane Matthew and Irma over the last couple of years have improved the response to disasters.
“We’re getting better every single time it happens, and that learning curve drops every single time,” he said.
While utility workers and Macon-Bibb crews remained busy throughout Thursday, it was a much slower day for the Macon-Bibb County Water Authority. Michael did not cause any damage to the sewer system or water mains, an employee said.
In neighboring Houston County 19 structures were reported damaged, including a few businesses as well as several vehicles, said Jimmy Williams, director of the Houston County Emergency Management Agency.
In Houston County, 7,440 properties were still without power as of Thursday afternoon, according to a Flint Energies spokeswoman.
A section of Houston Lake Road was the final street being cleared of debris by late Thursday afternoon, Williams said.
More than 200 people called about damage from Michael.
“It was a great team effort from all the municipalities in the county, public safety and public works agencies that went out, and did the best they could and got things taken care of for our citizens,” Williams said.
What to know:
- To report blocked roads and damage call the Macon-Bibb EMA office during normal business hours at 478-832-6300 or go online to Macon-Bibb’s SeeClickFix website;
- Information about outages is available at www.georgiapower.com/storm or by calling 888-891-0938 or through the Flint Energies website;
- Macon-Bibb government will resume normal operations on Friday, including each of its recreation centers. Also, buses will begin running routes at 5:20 a.m. Friday;
Trash and recycling pickup has been delayed one day in Houston and Macon-Bibb so normal Thursday collections will take place Friday. Regular Friday collections will take place Saturday.