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SUDDEN STORM
Hurricane Michael and Georgia’s Path to Recovery

SUDDEN STORM
Hurricane Michael and Georgia’s Path to Recovery

Hurricane Michael hit Southwest Georgia with unexpected force on Oct. 10, 2018. Michael had already torn across the Florida Panhandle, and, as evening fell, people in small towns and farms faced something unseen in the state for more than 100 years: a Category 3 hurricane with gusts over 100 miles per hour. Pecan groves were torn from the ground, the cotton harvest ripped from stems, and schools and homes flooded. This is the story of a powerful storm and the long recovery that follows.

Photos of the Aftermath

 

  • Bobby Washington his tractor to drag a piece of  oak tree downed by Hurricane Michael out of a neighbor's yard in Bainbridge. Over two weeks after the storm barreled into southwest Georgia, power is still out in some neighborhoods and children have just headed back to school. Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • An aerial photo of the Pine Knoll Pecan Plantation after Hurricane Michael hit.  Mitch Bulger/Pine Knoll Pecan Plantation

  • Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • The city of Bainbridge is still digging out from under debri s two weeks after Hurricane Michael came through southwest Georgia.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • The good part of a hurricane broken power pole is wired to a longer pole in a Bainbridge neighborhood. Two weeks after Hurricane Michael came through southwest Georgia,  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Electrical workers, like these staging for a day of work in Albany,  came from across the country to try and get the power back on in southwest Georgia after Hurricane Michael hit the region weeks ago.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Electrical workers, like these staging for a day of work in Albany,  came from across the country to try and get the power back on in southwest Georgia after Hurricane Michael hit the region weeks ago. Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • April Smith starts making calls in an effort to find baby formula for her five month old daughter after finding the Health Department in Dougherty County was still closed a week after Hurricane Michael.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Hurricane Michael damaged buildings across Albany and surrounding communities only a year and a half after the city was hit by a pair of tornadoes.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • A pallet of ready to eat meals, or MREs, tumbles to the ground in a parking lot in Albany where National Guard members hand out food, water and ice to people without either food or power lined up about a week after Hurricane Michael. Emergency managers in the area estimated about 30,000 people, or about a quarter of the Albany area population, was left food insecure by the storm.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Over 100 people in Albany sheltered in the Red Cross shelter at the Albany Civic Center. Shayvonda Edwards, left, had only settled down in Albany after moving from Fort Lauderdale when her apartment was destroyed by Hurricane Michael. Now she and her children are homeless.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Southwest Georgia timberland was hit hard by Hurricane Michael as in this forest of planted pines in Decatur County.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Pre-kindergarten teacher Jessica Beard looks back at some of the damage made by Hurricane Michael to the hall where she has her class at Potter Street Elementary School in Bainbridge. Students in Decatur County missed a week of school because of the storm.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Hurricane Michael damaged roofs and blew out windows at Potter Street Elementary School in Bainbridge.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Hurricane Michael damaged roofs and blew out windows at Potter Street Elementary School in Bainbridge. In at least one classroom, burglars took advantage of that and made off with a number of laptop computers.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Teachers at Potter Street Elementary School in Bainbridge carry fixtures from the school's special education classroom into one of the temporary classrooms behind the school as a another classroom comes together next door. Hurricane Michael damaged a number of classrooms at the school.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • All 30 laptops in Laura Hutchins' kindergarten classroom at Potter Street Elementary School in Bainbridge were stolen after Hurricane Michael blew out a classroom window.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • Workers moved physical education equipment back into the gym at Potter Street Elementary School in Bainbridge the day before students were back in class after Hurricane Michael.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • A cedar tree snapped near the base by Hurricane Michael.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • The city of Bainbridge is still digging out from under debri s two weeks after Hurricane Michael came through southwest Georgia.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  •  
    The city of Bainbridge is still digging out from under debri s two weeks after Hurricane Michael came through southwest Georgia.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • The city of Bainbridge is still digging out from under debri s two weeks after Hurricane Michael came through southwest Georgia.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • April Owens, center, talks with her neighbor Sandra Thornton, right, outside Owens' storm damaged camper in a neighborhood north of Bainbridge. Owens and Thornton are still without power two weeks after Hurricane Michael and, since an electric pump pulls well water to their homes, they have no water either.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • One of Sandra Thornton's children peeks through a window while she speaks to a reporter outside her Bainbridge home. Two weeks after Hurricane Michael, Thornton is still without water and power beyond what a gas run generator provides. She does not want to send her kids to school before they can have a proper bath again.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

  • The city of Bainbridge is still digging out from under debri s two weeks after Hurricane Michael came through southwest Georgia.  Grant Blankenship/GPB

GPB News Audio Coverage

Photos from the Community

 

  • Mollie Cohen image from her family's orchard, Pecan Ridge Plantation, in Bainbridge.

  • Mollie Cohen image from her family's orchard, Pecan Ridge Plantation, in Bainbridge.

  • Mollie Cohen image from her family's orchard, Pecan Ridge Plantation, in Bainbridge.

  • Mollie Cohen image from her family's orchard, Pecan Ridge Plantation, in Bainbridge.

  • Before and after images from Chill C Farms / Moultrie Melon Company in Moultrie show damage to eggplant crops. Credit: Sam Watson

  • An aerial photo shows damage to pecan trees in southwest Georgia. Credit: Georgia Grown Facebook Page

  • Mollie Cohen image from her family's orchard, Pecan Ridge Plantation, in Bainbridge.

  • Mollie Cohen image from her family's orchard, Pecan Ridge Plantation, in Bainbridge.

  • Hurricane Michael left damage across southwestern parts of the state such as Baker, Miller, and Seminole counties. Photo: Jon Nelson/GPB

  • Hurricane Michael left damage across southwestern parts of the state such as Baker, Miller, and Seminole counties. Photo: Jon Nelson/GPB

  • Before and after images from Chill C Farms / Moultrie Melon Company in Moultrie show damage to cucumber crops. Credit: Sam Watson

  • Damage from Hurricane Michael affected the downtown area of (ask Jon Nelson in sports where this was taken). Photo: Jon Nelson/GPB

  • Photo by Jon Nelson/GPB

  • A Shell gas station in Donaldson was destroyed when Hurricane Michael hit. Credit: submitted via Twitter

Video: Hurricane Michael Aftermath