Georgia Coast Sees Major Damage From Hurricane Irma | WABE 90.1 FM

Georgia Coast Sees Major Damage From Hurricane Irma

Sep 13, 2017

Some residents of Tybee Island are now returning home.

The island was closed and inaccessible for an additional day because Chatham County emergency officials said the island sustained the heaviest damage in the Savannah area from tropical storm Irma and delayed.

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Swann Seiler, a spokesperson with Georgia Power, said power outages will continue to be an issue on the island over the next few weeks.

"We have been able to move on to Tybee, which was previously inaccessible and we have viewed it by air. We know we have a major transmission line out, which is affecting our substation."

Officials said much of the island was without power on Tuesday, and many of the 3,000 homes on the island were flooded.

John Knox, a meteorologist at the University of Georgia, said the impact on Tybee was so great because of a storm surge.

"In a normal situation, the water is high enough at high tide to cause access to be difficult because there’s some water on the roads,” Knox said. “When you add four-five feet of water on top of that, there's no way to have access."

Access to the island has been restored. Highway 80 leading to the island finally reopened late Tuesday.

The mayor of Tybee Island, Jason Buelterman, said all other critical functions including fire, medical and police services, as well as water and sewer systems are “fully functional.”

Glynn County

Damage from tropical storm Irma was worse farther south along the Georgia coast.

A night-time curfew in Glynn County, which includes St. Simons and Jekyll Island, was extended through Sept. 16.

Glynn County commissioner Bill Brunson said it's not yet safe for people to return. Especially because traffic lights at major intersections are not working:

"People are riding around with their cellphones, talking on their cellphones, taking pictures and running through these things. I am surprised that we've not already had some accidents there."

Brunson called it a “roller-coaster of epic proportions” and said it was the worst flooding he has seen in 45 years.