» Power out­ages are caus­ing prob­lems in Ge­or­gia,

Health of­fi­cials hope for full power restora­tion Tues­day.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeremy Red­mon jred­mon@ajc.com and Arielle Kass akass@ajc.com Staff writ­ers Chris­tian Boone and Kelly Ya­manouchi con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

Nearly 250,000 Ge­or­gians were with­out power and two dozen hos­pi­tals and nurs­ing homes across the state were re­ly­ing on backup gen­er­a­tors Fri­day as util­ity crews scram­bled to re­store elec­tric­ity in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Michael.

The out­ages could per­sist in some re­gions for days. Amer- icus and Macon are ex­pected to have power by late Sun­day. The Al­bany area should get it by Mon­day night. In Bain­bridge, peo­ple may not see the lights come back on un­til Tues­day evening.

“The util­ity com­pa­nies are work­ing fever­ishly to do restora­tion of those fa­cili- ties,” Gov. Nathan Deal told re­porters, adding: “They are work­ing very quickly, and I am hop­ing that in the very near fu­ture we’re go­ing to see power re­stored.”

The hur­ri­cane caused some of the worst de­struc­tion Geor- gia has seen in decades, said Terri Statham, a spokes­woman for Ge­or­gia EMC, the trade as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing the state’s 41 elec­tric mem­ber­ship co­op­er­a­tives.

High-volt­age lines that are nor­mally way up in the air have come down and are sub­merged in wa­ter, Statham said. The hard­est-hit ar­eas are ru­ral with soft soil, she added, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for crews to ma­neu­ver their heavy re­pair equip­ment.

Ge­or­gia Power had 4,800 work­ers on the ground Fri­day re­pair­ing more than 2,000 downed lines and poles. Work­ers from sev­eral other states have poured into Geor- gia to help the EMCs, Statham added.

“Hur­ri­cane Michael is prov- ing to be un­like any storm we’ve had in re­cent mem­ory,” Statham said in an email. “With this storm, the sever­ity of dam­age is sig­nifi- cantly worse than Irma since Michael also caused ma­jor dam­age to the high volt­age trans­mis­sion sys­tem — dam- age to tow­ers, trans­mis­sion lines and sub­sta­tions.”

State health of­fi­cials, mean- while, are ex­pect­ing power to be fully re­stored to Geor- gia’s hos­pi­tals and nurs­ing homes by Tues­day.

“The ex­tent of im­pact due to loss of reg­u­lar power will vary from fa­cil­ity to fa­cil­ity,” Eric Jens, a Ge­or­gia Health De­part­ment spokesman, said in a pre­pared state­ment. “State of­fi­cials are in reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and fa­cil­i­ties are also work­ing with lo­cal part­ners to ful­fill what­ever ad­di­tional re­source needs they may have.”

Phoebe Put­ney Memo­rial Hospi­tal in Al­bany was rely- ing on gen­er­a­tors for its oper- at­ing rooms and some of­fices Fri­day af­ter­noon, said Ben Roberts, a spokesman for the hospi­tal.

“Our main con­cern right now is just mak­ing sure we can get our op­er­at­ing rooms back up,” he said. “We have post­poned all elec­tive surgery, so any emer­gency surg­eries we can still han­dle. But it is not an ideal sit­u­a­tion. So the sooner they can get us back up the bet­ter, so that we can go back to full steam in the” op­er­at­ing rooms.

Sev­eral state fa­cil­i­ties were also us­ing gen­er­a­tors Fri­day af­ter­noon, in­clud­ing Bain­bridge Pro­ba­tion Sub­stance Abuse Treat­ment Cen­ter, Cal­houn State Prison, Turner Res­i­den­tial Sub­stance Abuse & In­te­grated Treat­ment Cen­ter, Al­bany Tran­si­tional Cen­ter, Lee State Prison and Autry State Prison.

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