The storm was less destructive than expected, but parts of Harris County remained without power Tuesday, causing government offices and schools to remain closed.
“We had a lot of trees down,” said 911/EMA Director Monty Davis in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “We still have several communities out of power.”
Davis said Hamilton, the county seat, was without power until about 1:45 p.m. He expected government offices and schools to reopen on Wednesday. He said Diverse Power and Georgia Power were still working in other parts of the county to restore electricity.
The storm damage occurred throughout the county, but Cataula, Ellerslie, Fortson, Pine Mountain and Pine Mountain Valley were especially impacted.
“The road crews were out last night until 11 o’clock, or even later,” he said. “The Sheriff’s Office, they had extra deputies come in. All of them had chainsaws. They were cutting and clearing roads the whole time.”
The biggest concern was trees getting tangled up into power lines, he explained. And workers closed two roads because some powerlines were too low. The closed roads were Lower Blue Springs Road, right outside of Hamilton, and My Hand Road in Pine Mountain.
“Because of safety, they couldn’t go in and cut the trees or clear the road until the power company got there to verify everything was safe,” he said.
Except for those few inconveniences, the county fared pretty well in the storm, Davis said.
“This all started last week, meeting with department heads, and city and county officials, public safety, for a briefing,” he said. “When weather service had their briefing, everybody was here to get prepared.
“We updated the county’s website as the event went on,” he said. “We used our Code Red Emergency notification system to let citizens know what was going on. We have a texting system to notify our department heads, government and public safety officials. It went real well.”
Davis said the storm was less intense than predicted because it didn’t veer into the Gulf of Mexico and strengthen after leaving Tampa Bay.
“... When it hit Tampa, it actually went inland, which diminished the speed and the size,” he said.