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Monday, April 4, 2011 - 5:01am

Power Should Return By Midnight

More than 60,000 homes and businesses across Georgia remained without power Wednesday morning. It's the continued aftermath of the strong storms that rolled through the state Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

Georgia Power reports that 33,000 customers remain without electricity. 12,500 of those in the metro Atlanta area. The company expects most of its service statewide to be restored by midnight.

The Georgia Electric Membership Corporation as of 1 p.m. revised its estimate of outages to nearly 28,000 statewide (6,400 in Atlanta; 6,200 middle Ga.; 5,700 north Ga.).

The severe weather is to blame for seven deaths in Georgia. That included a young father and son who died when a tree fell onto their home. In Colquitt County, a prisoner on storm cleanup detail was killed when he was struck by a falling tree. There were other fatalities in Irwin, Fulton, and Dodge counties.

Lisa Janak with Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency says the severe weather system played no favorites.

“The interesting thing about this storm is that it did not target one particular area of our state. It targeted the entire state. So we have damage reports all the way from north Georgia to south Georgia.”

Janak says there are reports of damage in more than 50 of the state's 159 counties. The National Weather Service confirms an EF-2 tornado touched down in Dodge County.

Ralph Hudgens, Georgia's Insurance Commissioner, says insured losses statewide are at least $32 million, with that estimate likely to climb.

The damage included an animal shelter in the Ellijay-area in north Georgia. Gilmer County's fire chief told the Associated Press that the shelter was destroyed by the storms. But all the animals survived, reportedly more than 60.

In Augusta, officials say one of the historic magnolia trees at the Augusta National Golf Club has been destroyed after powerful storms struck the course. The Masters golf tournament begins on Thursday, with the popular Par-3 tournament to be staged Wednesday.


Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Associated Press

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