As night fell and temperatures dropped in North Georgia on Monday, power outages started to mount.
Reports of heavier winds, rain and freezing rain and mixed precipitation have created a mess. Georgia Power, the state’s largest electricity provider, reported more than 70,000 customers affected by outages as of 11 p.m, according to the utility’s outage map and a Twitter update.
At 10 p.m., Georgia’s electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) were reporting approximately 64,000 customers in north Georgia without power, up from 15,000 earlier in the evening.
Tony Gonzalez, a Georgia Power spokesman, said in an ice storm, crews generally face bitter cold, slick and sometimes impassable roads, downed trees and limbs. Crews are assessing the damage and at this point, he said, it isn’t clear what the main culprit is. It could be high winds, downed trees and limbs or ice on the lines themselves.
“Safety of the crews themselves and the public is their No. 1 concern when they are out there,” Gonzalez said. “It is the first thing they think about and the last thing they think about as they are out there.”
Northern DeKalb, Cherokee, Hall, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties appeared to be hard hit, with concentrations of outages near Lake Lanier and Allatoona Lake, Canton, Ball Ground, Gainesville, Suwanee and also in Covington to the south. The I-85 corridor also appeared to be hard hit.
Jackson EMC, which serves large portions of Gwinnett, Rockdale, Barrow, Hall and Jackson counties, reported more than 31,000 affected customers by 8:45 p.m. That number topped 42,000 by 9:15.
Amicalola EMC reported more than 7,000 customers currently without power, largely in the Canton, Ball Ground and Dawsonville areas as of 8:15 p.m. Though some customers have had power restored, the figure had surpassed 12,000 by 9:15 p.m.
Cobb Energy reported about 1,200 outages in North Fulton at about 8 p.m. That number was fewer than 700 by about 9 p.m. By 9:30, virtually all Cobb Energy customers had had their power restored.