Thousands of Georgians still without power and there’s no word on when it will returnShane Mixon, owner of Paolino Italian Restaurant on Mead Road in Oakhurst looks over a tree that fell across Oakview Road barely missing his business during the early morning storm that hit Decatur hard on October 29, 2020. His power was out and Mixon said, “I’m probably going to lose a lot of gelato.” Photo by Dean Hesse.
UPDATE: Georgia Power is now reporting that the majority of customers will have power before Sunday evening. Here’s the latest from Georgia Power:
Earlier, our automated outage alert system issued an estimated restoration time to customers in error. While we expect power to be restored to 95% of customers impacted by Hurricane Zeta by Sunday night, we expect the great majority of customers to be restored before then.
— Georgia Power (@GeorgiaPower) October 30, 2020
Here is our earlier story …
Decatur, GA– Thousands of Georgians will likely be without power Thursday evening as the state continues to deal with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Zeta.
The storm began as a hurricane but was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached Atlanta.
The Georgia Power outage map for the Decatur area still showed numerous outages as of 6 p.m., Oct. 29. Most of those outages have no estimated time of power restoration.
A spokesperson for the power company said that as of 7 p.m. Oct. 29, there are still just over 298,000 people without power. About 81,000 of them live in DeKalb County, spokesperson Allison Gregoire said.
“These numbers are dropping quickly and we had approximately 610,000 customers without power after the storm passed through this morning,” Gregoire said.
Many of the estimated restoration times on the Georgia Power website say “assessing condition.” What does that mean and how should people interpret it?
“At this time, Georgia Power is still determining estimated restoration time due to the amount of extensive damage that occurred following Hurricane Zeta, including heavy winds that led to toppled trees,” Gregoire said. “Since the storm passed this morning, our damage assessment teams have been in the field examining the number of broken poles and spans of wires. Once this assessment is done, they can assign restoration teams to begin restoring power. We expect to begin having [estimated restoration times] by late tonight or tomorrow.”
So does Georgia Power have any idea when customers in the Atlanta area can expect to see their power restored? Will it be back by this weekend?
“We expect for power restoration to continue through Friday and into the weekend,” Gregoire said. “Hurricane Zeta brought extensive damage to the metro area and all damage including fallen trees and debris must be removed before restoration teams can safely come in and begin restoring power.”
The power company said via its Twitter account that its website had been overwhelmed with requests from people anxious for updates.
“Our website and mobile app have been overwhelmed due to high volume of traffic,” the company said. “Our technology team is focused on resolving these issues. Please know we are diligently working to restore services as quickly as possible and we apologize for the inconvenience.”
The company said Thursday afternoon it already had restored power to 280,000 customers.
“There are extensive amounts of damage, including broken poles, many of which are located in remote or challenging locations,” the power company said. “We understand your frustration if you still are without power and thank you for support and understanding.”
In a message to parents, City Schools of Decatur signaled that administrators believe power will still be out for many residents on Friday morning. Most CSD students are learning virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s the email the school district sent to CSD families on Thursday afternoon:
Dear CSD Community,
As our district is impacted by ongoing power outages, City Schools of Decatur leaders are continuing to monitor this situation. All CSD facilities, schools (including Frasier Center and ECLC), and programs (including extracurriculars and CSD-sponsored pods) will remain closed for in-person learning on Friday, October 30. Virtual learning will continue as scheduled if possible.
Tomorrow, if your student is able to log into a class/session and there is no teacher present, please assume that the instructor is without power or unable to log into their Google Classroom. Teachers will do their best to contact families by email should their power return during the school day. Also, if your student is unable to log into a class/session, we understand the situation. We will mark all students present tomorrow just as we did today.
If you have power/internet access and the teacher does not, please feel free to have your student complete the asynchronous assignments that your teachers have posted in Google Classroom.
We ask staff and families to be flexible and understand that power outage or other circumstances may affect whether students and/or their teachers can engage with virtual learning.
Although all other in-person activities have been canceled for tomorrow, the Decatur High School Varsity Football game will be played as scheduled.
We appreciate your flexibility and understanding.
DeKalb County Schools, which also closed classrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is closing its offices tomorrow. Here’s the full announcement from DeKalb County Schools:
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Due to outages from inclement weather, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will close all offices on Friday, October 30, 2020, and only 12-month essential employees including maintenance and custodial staff should report by 11 a.m.
All students and staff are to report for a normal remote learning school day. DCSD acknowledges that staff, students, and families may be impacted by power outages resulting from remnants of Hurricane Zeta. Students will not be negatively impacted if they are not able to participate in synchronous learning.
Additionally, all feeding sites will be closed tomorrow. For more information, please visit: https://acfb.org. DCSD will provide additional information or changes, as weather reports update, at www.dekalbschoolsga.org.
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