Widespread damage across south Georgia from Irma

by: Chris Jose Updated:

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. - In south Georgia, there is no timeline on how soon the causeways will reopen. From the mainland to the islands, the damage is widespread.

Channel 2’s Chris Jose has been in south Georgia since before Hurricane Irma hit. Tuesday, he had to travel by boat to see the damage on St. Simons Island.

For much of the day Tuesday, the National Guard had a roadblock set up along the main road to get to the island.

Except for police, firemen or work crews with permits, no one was being let into St. Simons.
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Except for police, firemen or work crews with permits, no one was being let on or off the island by road.

Jose and his photographer made their way on to the island by boat. Along the way, they found a sunken fishing boat and destroyed docks.

William Bennett owns George's Bait Shop. His sister, Sandy Morrison, lives there with their mother.

Through the washed-up debris and wobbly dock, Jose made his way to house.


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“We got to do what we got to do to check on the home,” Bennett said.

The home is still standing. Bennett wasn't so sure it would be there.

“I was telling my sister then, I doubt we're going to have a house when we come back,” Bennett told Jose.

The home survived Hurricane Matthew and it survived Irma. But it also took in some water.

The water line was over the home's foundation. Inside, there's damage to the floors. All around the property there is a big mess.

“Prayers that we still have a house. Our prayers were answered,” Bennett said.

The cleanup will take time. Bennett told Jose the bait shop will reopen, though he's not sure when.

“We will be back. Hopefully, we'll be in business within a month,” Bennett told Jose.

After Jose left George’s Bait Shop, he and his photographer made their way into several neighborhoods on St. Simons Island.

The damage is widespread.

“It's bad. You've got roofs cut in half, trees everywhere, it's just crazy,” St. Simons resident Jesse Orton said.

Trees that toppled over homes were a common sight. The owner of one house heeded the warning and left for Atlanta.

“Maybe they should come back soon. The house is damaged. The tree is in it. It's crazy,” Orton told Jose.

Much like Brunswick, homes were flooded, too. Tom Denmark told Jose the water was pouring in.

“It was coming in the doors, coming in the garage door, coming in through the front door,” Denmark said.

Lanier Bridge, which leads from Brunswick to Jekyll Island, is shut down right now. The National Guard is in place. The only way to get around is by boat.

As of Tuesday evening, there was still no power on the island. But Jose saw crews make their way in.

Back in Cobb County, a team from the 94th Airlift Wing flew to Florida to deliver supplies. 

Channel 2 Ross Cavitt went with the team from Dobbins Air Reserve Base. They took on the mission to homestead, Florida on short notice. 

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