Metro Atlanta Counties Seek Outside Help With Irma Damage

Sep 21, 2017
DeKalb County officials say crews have been working since Irma hit to repair storm damage.
Alison Guillory / WABE


Some metro Atlanta counties are asking for federal aid to help recover from Tropical Storm Irma.


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DeKalb County had hundreds of trees down. At one point, 170,000 people were without power in DeKalb alone.

Sue Loeffler is DeKalb's director of emergency management. She said it takes a lot to add up damage costs from the storm.

Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

The center of Irma may not hit Atlanta, but a tropical storm warning remains in effect. That means high winds and heavy rain - the kind of thing that can cause flash flooding and bring down trees and power lines.

Hundreds of thousands of Georgia Power and EMC customers are out of electricity in central, south and coastal Georgia, and Atlanta area residents should expect the same thing.

On "Morning Edition," Denis O'Hayer spoke with Brian Lynn, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

A woman holds a child while walking through a farm that was damaged by a tornado, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Adel, Ga.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

Sixteen south Georgia counties are under a state disaster declaration after strong storms killed at least 15 people and wrecked neighborhoods over the weekend.

The storms came in three phases, each one stronger than the previous one, said Georgia Emergency Management Agency director Homer Bryson.

“The last one had a tornado that was on the ground for over an hour – massive tornado – that covered four counties,” Bryson said. “A lot of damage, a lot of devastation.”

The GOES East satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and taken Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 at 1:12 p.m. EDT, shows Hurricane Matthew over the Caribbean region.

Georgia's coastline is relatively short and the states around it stick out into the ocean more, so it gets hit by hurricanes less frequently than other southeastern states. Still, state and federal officials are keeping an eye on Hurricane Matthew.

The National Weather Service says the storm could hit Florida in the next few days, and the coast of Georgia later this week.

Mic Smith / Associated Press

As South Carolina copes with deadly flooding from Hurricane Joaquin, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency is sending help.

About half a dozen GEMA members are already stationed in South Carolina, helping with communications, damage assessment and disaster response.

That number is likely to increase in the next few days or weeks.

“With a flood disaster, we're really in the first phase of the issue,” says GEMA Director Jim Butterworth.