Hundreds of Georgia Power crews hit damaged areas around the coast

BRUNSWICK — Channel 2 Action News is continuing Severe Weather Team 2 coverage on the damage left behind by Hurricane Matthew.

Gov. Nathan Deal surveyed the damage in the Savannah area Sunday.

Officials say at least 14 people were killed in the storm -- three of those deaths happened in Georgia.


Channel 2's Ross Cavitt is in Glynn County where cleanup efforts along Georgia's coast are on the way.

Hundreds of power trucks gathered at a makeshift command center to head out.

Hurricane Matthew knocked out power to about 46,000 residents in Glynn County and its barrier islands, including Jekyll, Sea and Simons.

County authorities said on Sunday residents are able to return to all coastal Georgia counties except for Chatham.

Chatham allowed residents back into the county and the city of Savannah around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Chatham officials also advised returning residents that they still may not be able to get to their homes because of downed trees and power lines.

They have also shut down the bridge leading to Sea Island, where many of the aging trees lining Sea Island Road did not survive the storm. Glynn Sheriff Neal Jump said the span was being inspected for safety.

Photos: Hurricane Matthew's aftermath in Georgia

County officials are still tabulating the damages, which include numerous downed trees and power lines. Meanwhile, the county school system will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

The last time such an impactful hurricane struck the region was in 1898, said Glynn County Commission Chairman Richard Strickland.

“There is extreme damage, a lot more so on the islands, of course, than on the mainland,” Strickland told reporters. “We have trees down. We have a lot of power lines down. That’s the reason why right now the islands are not accessible to the public. We have to have the time to get everything back up and running. Once that happens, we will return to business as usual.”

County authorities warned earlier this week the hurricane could turn into a 500-year event with 9-foot storm surges carrying 25-foot high waves.

The storm was not as powerful as predicted, they said, though they couldn’t immediately quantify its size. The storm also struck off the coast earlier than originally expected, starting at 10 p.m. Friday.

The effects of the storm lasted until 8 a.m. Saturday, said Jay Wiggins, the county’s director of emergency management and homeland security.

“If this had happened on a high tide, it would have been a much worse incident,” he said. “It was strictly luck and timing that helped us with this.”

Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said his community also suffered downed trees and damage to homes.

“We are very fortunate that we have come through this as we have,” he said.


Georgia Power crews have re-entered Coastal Georgia and nearly 5,000 personnel including assisting utilities are working to restore power following Hurricane Matthew. Crews are navigating extensive damage, including flooding and roads blocked by downed trees.

Power has been restored to more than 100,000 customers following the Hurricane. Crews are working to restore power to the remaining residents.

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