- Associated Press - Friday, September 2, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - The Latest on Hermine (all times local):


5 p.m.

Emergency crews in Savannah remain busy responding to damage after Tropical Strom Hermine swept through the area.

Officials say the 911 dispatch center has received more than 2,400 calls for service on Friday. Another 300 calls came thought the city’s non-emergency service center.

Heavy rain and winds up to 60 mph caused downed trees and power lines.

Backup power kept the city water and sewer wells along with life stations operational to ensure disruption of service.

No storm-related injuries or structural flooding have been reported.

Savannah Emergency Management director David Donnelly says he expects crews will be busy for the next several days.

Fourteen public works crews used chains saws, log loaders and jet vacuum trucks to clear roadways and drainage inlets.


1 p.m.

Nick Wykoff says he didn’t see much damage from Tropical Storm Hermine around Valdosta - except for the burly pecan tree that fell and punched several holes in his roof.

The tree’s roots popped out of the soggy ground around 4 a.m. Friday, as strong winds sent it crashing onto the house Wycoff rents with his wife and their two young children. None of them were hurt.

But the 27-year-old Air Force mechanic had water leaking into his bedroom, kitchen and garage. He ended up going to Wal-Mart to buy extra buckets. Wykoff looked for more storm damage during the drive, but he didn’t see much.

He said: “Out of all the stuff that happened, the only real damage I see was on my own house.”


12:45 p.m.

Georgia’s top emergency response official says Tropical Storm Hermine is having somewhat less of an impact on the state than he had expected.

Jim Butterworth, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, said in a telephone interview Friday that no deaths or major structural damage had been reported in 56 Georgia counties under an emergency declaration.

Hermine churned into south Georgia early Friday after making landfall in Florida as a hurricane. The storm was expected to pass west of Savannah and head into South Carolina later Friday.

Butterworth said a few injuries had been reported, largely related to storm cleanup efforts, but none appeared serious. He said property damage appears to be mostly from trees falling on homes or cars.


12:30 p.m.

A spokesman at Atlanta’s airport says it has been operating normally, with minimal impacts from Hermine.

Reese Adams McCranie, a spokesman at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, said late Friday morning that the airport was moderately busy at the start of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

On Thursday night, as Hermine took aim at Florida, a couple of flights from Atlanta to Tallahassee were delayed until Friday.

Airport departure information showed that as of early Friday afternoon, flights from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia were scheduled to depart on time.


11:35 a.m.

Utility companies report that more than 107,000 customers were without power across Georgia as crews worked to repair damage left by Hermine.

About 30,000 of them were in the Savannah area; and more than 20,000 others were in the Brunswick area near the Georgia coastline, Georgia Power reported on its online outage map shortly before noon Friday.

More than 11,000 customers were without power in hard-hit Lowndes County, the utility company reported.

Of customers without power, more than 85,000 were Georgia Power customers. More than 21,000 customers of other utilities, many of them in rural areas, were without power shortly before noon, Georgia Electric Membership Corp. reported on its online outage map.

11 a.m.

A spokeswoman says Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is receiving regular updates while overseas as Hermine moves across Georgia.

Deal left Atlanta on Thursday for a four-day trade mission in Ireland. Deal’s schedule includes the Georgia Tech-Boston College football opener in Dublin on Saturday and visits to Irish companies with ties to Georgia.

Deal spokeswoman Jen Ryan says he has received phone and email updates and is using FaceTime conferences to speak with officials and staff in Georgia. She says Chief Operating Officer David Werner also is traveling with Deal.

The storm pushed into southern Georgia early Friday after making landfall as a hurricane in Florida.


10:45 a.m.

Forecasters say Hermine has dumped more than 5 inches of rain in several spots across south Georgia.

The National Weather Service on Friday received one report of just over 6 inches of rain in the past 24 hours at an automated weather station near the city of Quitman.

Georgia weather stations have recorded 24-hour rain totals of more than 5 inches in Brooks, Cook and Lowndes counties.


10:15 a.m.

Georgia Power reports that more than 76,000 of its customers are without power statewide as Hermine continues its path across Georgia.

Georgia Power’s online outage map showed that many of the outages at midmorning Friday were in and around the cities of Valdosta, Brunswick and Savannah.

The company reported that nearly 20,000 customers with no power were in the Savannah area, and nearly 20,000 more were in the Brunswick area.

More than 12,000 customers without power were in the Valdosta area, which was hard-hit by high winds from the storm.


10 a.m.

An 84-year-old south Georgia man says he woke up with a fright before dawn when a pine tree toppled by tropical storm winds came crashing onto his home.

Melvin Gatlin Sr. of Valdosta says, “I thought somebody had shot me, the way it sounded.”

It happened at around 4 a.m. Friday as Tropical Storm Hermine surged into southern Georgia after making landfall as a hurricane in Florida. Winds of up to 55 mph were recorded in the Valdosta area.

The fallen tree crushed a storage shed behind the home where Gatlin has lived for more than 40 years. The roof was damaged enough that a thin line of water was dripping through the ceiling in his living room.

Gatlin’s daughter, Rosa Norwood, said she’s grateful that no one was hurt.


9:55 a.m.

Authorities say the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in south Georgia is among four national wildlife refuges that have closed as Hermine’s water and winds whip Florida and Georgia.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Tom McKenzie said the Okefenokee refuge, directly in Hermine’s path, was closed Friday.

The Okefenokee features vast swamplands filled inhabited by alligators, but McKenzie said “rain and water is nothing new to them” though falling trees could prove dangerous to gators and other wildlife.

McKenzie said the St. Marks, St. Vincent and Lower Suwanee refuges, all in Florida, were also closed Friday.


8:10 a.m.

Georgia transportation officials say that some state and federal highways were closed because of storm debris, downed trees and traffic signal problems.

The Georgia Department of Transportation Friday morning said that a section of U.S. Highway 41 in Lowndes County was blocked by downed trees and power lines.

In Mitchell County, State Route 270 was blocked due to a tree down across the road and a traffic crash.


8 a.m.

The emergency manager in Tift County says there are widespread reports of trees and power lines down in the south Georgia county.

The Tift County Emergency Management Agency said in a statement around dawn Friday that most of the outages were on the south and west sides of the county.

The agency was warning motorists not to drive over any line crossing the roadway.

Tift County is about 45 miles north of Valdosta, where thousands of residents lost power as Hermine passed through the area.


7:45 a.m.

Several electric cooperates that serve rural areas of south Georgia are reporting thousands of power outages, adding to more than 50,000 outages reported by Georgia Power.

The Satilla Rural Electric Membership Cooperative in south Georgia reported more than 2,300 outages shortly after dawn Friday, with most of them in Atkinson County.

The Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Cooperative reported that there were more than 2,000 outages in Glynn County near Georgia’s coast; and nearly 1,000 more outages in Camden County.

Georgia Power reports that more than 50,000 of its customers were without power statewide just after dawn Friday as Hermine continued to cross the southern section of the state.


7:30 a.m.

Emergency officials are looking into a report of a possible tornado touching down at a gated golf community in Savannah as Tropical Storm Hermine churns through southern Georgia.

Catherine Neal, a spokeswoman for the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency, said residents of The Landings called 911 to report a possible tornado before 6 a.m. Friday. The upscale community is located on Skidaway Island in east Savannah.

Neal said responders found downed trees and structural damage in the area, but there were no known injuries.

The storm pushed into southern Georgia early Friday after making landfall in Florida. The center forecast to pass west of Savannah on Friday afternoon.


7:20 a.m.

Georgia Power reports that nearly 48,000 of its customers were without power statewide just after dawn Friday as Hermine rolls across the southern section of the state.

Georgia Power’s online outage map showed that many of the outages were in and around the cities of Valdosta, Brunswick and Savannah.

In the Valdosta area, Lowndes County spokeswoman Paige Dukes said crews were dealing with fallen trees and snapped power lines, but no injuries had been reported. She says winds exceeding 55 mph had been recorded in the county, with 4 to 5 inches of rainfall.

Hermine was moving north-northeast across south Georgia at 14 mph toward Savannah on the coast.

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