Houston County 911 gets busy as Irma winds pick up
Approximately 13,000 homes were without power shortly after noon Monday in Houston County with the fiercest winds from Irma still expected to come.
Jimmy Williams, Houston County Emergency Management Agency director, said shortly after 11 a.m. that approximately 2,500 or more homes in the county were without power, mostly as a result of trees falling on power lines.
“All the power crews are out and they are restoring it as quick as they can,” Williams said.
However, by the time a briefing to emergency response officials ended shortly before 1 p.m., the number without power had grown to 13,000.
Williams said the outages are scattered throughout the county. He said some of the fallen trees had blocked roads but emergency crews had cleared the trees quickly and all roads were open as he spoke. Williams also said people were generally heeding warning to stay off roads and avoid calling 911 except in cases of life-threatening emergencies.
He said there had been approximately 50 reports of trees down. One person suffered a minor injury when a tree fell on a car on Evergreen Street in Warner Robins, but he said that person did not have to be taken to the hospital. That was the only injury he was aware of.
All three mayors in the county along with many other emergency response leaders gathered at the 911 center for an update at noon from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. They were told that the threat of tornadoes was believed to be minimal but wind speeds were expected to increase.
Capt. Ricky Harlowe, 911 center director, told the group that sustained winds were beginning to reach 40 mph. He asked if they remained in agreement that only life-threatening calls would be answered at that point. Some said they were but they still wanted the call to be dispatched and let their agency make the decision on whether to respond.
Williams said 1.8 inches of rain had fallen in the county since midnight.
He said all mayors and many elected officials, including city council members and commissioners, had attended all of the meetings on Irma.
“I don’t think there’s another county out of the 159 in the state that can say that,” Williams said. “We appreciate the support.”
Rogie Roberson, a Flint Energies representative at the meeting, said 22,000 customers across its service area were without power. The area spans 17 counties in an area from Houston County to Columbus. He said crews are coming in from other states to get the power restored.
“This is going to be days to get it restored, not hours,” he said.