» Power outages are causing problems in Georgia,
Health officials hope for full power restoration Tuesday.
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.