Update: Hall County had fewer than 10 power outages Friday morning after Hurricane Ian skirted Georgia’s coast but left no major damage.
“Hall County has not experienced any weather related issues throughout the morning,” said Zach Brackett, Operations and Special Projects Manager for Hall County’s Emergency Management Agency.
He said at 11 a.m. Friday that Hall had “less than ten properties experiencing unplanned power outages.”
Also, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced Friday that it is reopening Sidney Lanier Bridge and lifting all lane closure restrictions on Interstates 75, 16, and 95.
“Bridge inspection teams were deployed immediately after the storm had passed to inspect the Sidney Lanier Bridge to ensure it was safe to reopen this morning,” GDOT said in a news release.
“Thankfully our state was spared this time,” the release says. “The close partnership between Georgia’s state agencies and the plans put into place and practiced each time a threat looms helps ensure the safety and security of Georgians and those taking shelter here.”
Hall County’s Emergency Management Agency said Thursday afternoon that its Emergency Operations Center will only “partially activate” this evening as Hurricane Ian continues to shift eastward.
EMA will “remain activated with minimal staff until the tropical threat passes and impacts to our community have been properly mitigated,” said EMA Director Casey Ramsey.
“As for our current status, Hall County and its municipalities are actively monitoring conditions and readying their respective areas for storm response,” he said, adding that the “biggest concern” remains the strong gusts of winds.
Windy conditions are expected to continue, according to the National Weather Service, with the possibility of power outages.
Carmen Hernandez, a meteorologist for the Peachtree City National Weather Service, forecasted wind gusts of 30-40 mph through Saturday, and 0.5-1 inch of rain.
Hall County Schools sent out a statement Thursday afternoon to families and employees, saying extracurricular activities and events can continue as planned.
“Tropical storm Ian has moved more to the east than initially predicted, and as a result, extracurricular activities and school events in the HCSD may proceed Friday and Saturday of this week,” said school district spokesman Stan Lewis. “That being said, schools may still choose to cancel or reschedule practices and events based on conditions in their area and the nature of the activity.”
For details on specific events, parents can contact their local schools.
Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean, the Associated Press reported. The National Hurricane Center predicted it would make landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane Friday.
The devastation inflicted on Florida began to come into focus a day after Ian struck as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. The storm flooded homes on both the state’s coasts, cut off the only bridge to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million Florida homes and businesses — nearly a quarter of utility customers.
“We’ve never seen (a) storm surge of this magnitude,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told a news conference. “The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.