Working hard to restore power

Restoring power to many who lost it due to severe weather on Saturday night. / Jessica Fairley

Updated: 2/20/11 2:00 p.m.

Folks over in Pearson, Georgia had to go without power for over 24 hours after the severe weather this weekend.

The city lost power around 11:00 Saturday night.

EMA Director Mark Ausley tells us power was restored to most of the city by 12:30 Monday morning.

Ausley says there were some problems where a switcher had to be replaced, but that everything was back to normal by 2:00 a.m.

Saturday night, Southwest Georgia was hit with heavy rains, hail and strong winds and because of the storm, those in Pearce, Georgia spent the day without power.

Atkinson County's Emergency Management Agency says until they talk with weather officials on Monday, they can't confirm whether or not a tornado touched down in the area, but the two irrigation pivots overturned in a field is proof that whatever came through held great strength.

"Approximately 11 transmission poles are on the ground. Georgia Power is out there now with some of their crews and also some of their contract crews," said Atkinson County EMA Director Mark Ausley.

Crews from Brunswick, Statesboro, Albany and Valdosta spent the day working in a field located on Joe Nuget Road in the county.

Not only were the Atkinson County EMA concerned with the power, they say the outage could've affected the water supply.

"Because of the power being out, some of the lift stations and water plants have power issues. So we're going to meet up to make sure that we don't have any sewer water issues," said Mark Ausley.

The crew of 75 men working to restore power ran into some roadblocks. The soil where the power lines are located is filled with standing water and mud.

The workers were protected in wetsuits, but the conditions made it difficult to maneuver the machinery, as they tend to get bogged down and stuck in one location.

"We're working in really harsh conditions and things can happen that will slow restoration down," said Georgia Power Valdosta Maintenance Center Representative Mark Bell.

And while Georgia Power and EMA scrambled to get the lights back on, fire officials worked together to come up with a plan for city residents.

Authorities were out in the streets making sure traffic flowed without any accidents.

Atkinson County Fire officials were also out in the community working alongside emergency management teams and looking after the sick.

"My biggest concern is for our handicap folks making sure that they're taken care of because a lot of them are on oxygen and they need special needs. That's what my fire department is doing, trying to take care of them," said Atkinson County Fire Chief Robbie Stone.

He says if power isn't restored by midnight shelters with generators may be opened for those in need.

FOX 31 checked in around 10 p.m. Sunday night and power had not been restored.