Sandy's winds blow down trees, disrupt power
by Noreen Cochran
October 30, 2012 01:23 AM | 3728 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta Water and Power linemen work to repair power lines and replace a utility pole on Kennesaw Avenue at Atwood Drive on Monday morning. <br> Photo by Laura Moon
Marietta Water and Power linemen work to repair power lines and replace a utility pole on Kennesaw Avenue at Atwood Drive on Monday morning.
Photo by Laura Moon
slideshow
Marietta Power and Water lineman Kevin Garner prepares a new underground wire. <br> Photo by Laura Moon
Marietta Power and Water lineman Kevin Garner prepares a new underground wire.
Photo by Laura Moon
slideshow
Garner, left, and foreman Stacey Wilhoite prepare an underground wire during Monday morning's repair to power lines and a utility pole on Kennesaw Avenue. <br> Photo by Laura Moon
Garner, left, and foreman Stacey Wilhoite prepare an underground wire during Monday morning's repair to power lines and a utility pole on Kennesaw Avenue.
Photo by Laura Moon
slideshow
MARIETTA — High winds gusting up to 24 mph early Monday morning felled a tree near WellStar Kennestone Hospital, downing power lines and closing Kennesaw Avenue from Holland Street to Old Highway 41.

Bob Lewis, general manager of Marietta Power and Water, said the hospital has emergency backup power capability and was not in danger of an outage and that most customers regained power shortly after the utility got the 4:45 a.m. call.

“That tree knocked down five spans of wire and a pole, so our crews have been out there rebuilding that this morning,” he said Monday. “They are just in the process of trying to re-energize that part of the line.”

A few others customers in the vicinity have to wait until the utility can “get the lines up and check the lines” into the houses, Lewis said.

“About 6:45 this morning, they got most people back on,” he said. “There are still four people without power.”

There were as many as a dozen outages in the 12 hours between 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday, Lewis said.

“Virtually all were due to trees or limbs falling onto our lines because of the high winds,” he said. “Those affected roughly 8,400 customers at one point in time. All but a handful are back on.”

Marietta police and Cobb fire departments said they were incident-free aside from Kennesaw Avenue, but the Marietta Fire Department had its hands full.

“We did have some substantial damage and a fire last night resulting from the high winds and a power line down,” Assistant Chief Kelly Caldwell said. “We had a pretty good-size woods fire between Life College and Southern Tech.”

Crews responded within four minutes to the 9:30 p.m. alarm Sunday, Caldwell said, and contained the fire around midnight.

“It was adjacent to the large condominium complex on campus,” he said. “The biggest concern was that the fire would travel with the high winds.”

However, the damage could have been worse.

‘It was not as bad as in the past,” Caldwell said. “We’re pretty fortunate.”

Georgia Power succeeded in repairing its lines but ongoing gusts kept the crews busy.

“We had, at the height of the storm last night, 5,500 customers out (statewide),” spokesman Brian Green said about a number that included 650 Cobb County customers, mostly in Kennesaw. “We got most of those back on during the night.”

About 1,200 remained without power Monday morning, but the number increased to 6,500 during the day for the utility’s 15-county metro Atlanta area, 1,900 of which are in the area that includes Cobb, Douglas and Paulding counties.

“It’s scattered throughout metro and the state,” Green said. “We’re getting to it as quick as we can, but I don’t have an estimated time of restoration.”

Although the storm did not dump rain on the area, it doesn’t have to be wet to wreak havoc, he said.

“With the high winds, we usually get into issues with limbs falling on lines even if we don’t have a lot of other weather,” Green said. “They can cause a lot of trouble for us.”

Cobb EMC was also busy.

“Right now, we have zero members out,” spokesman Mark Justice said. “During the night, at the height of the storm, we had scattered outages. About 2,000 members were impacted. Roughly, the duration of the outages was about an hour and a half.”

Crews worked through the night, he said.

“In some instances (the trees) weren’t necessarily fallen, but they were touching the lines and causing disturbances,” Justice said.

GreyStone Power had no Cobb County customers affected.

County spokesman Robert Quigley said McCollum Field had normal operations despite gusts up to 26 knots.

“(The) airport has been open the entire time,” he said. “Traffic is lighter than normal. With smaller aircraft, the wind plays a bigger role, so pilots are probably opting to not fly.”

The area is not out of the woods yet, with the potential of wind speeds at least double and maybe triple the October average of 8.5 mph.

“It will be windy through Tuesday evening, with winds around 20 mph,” said Alex Gibbs, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

However, no rain is predicted, he said.
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