Winter storm knocks out power in NE Florida, SE Georgia

By Vic Micolucci - I-TEAM reporter, anchor, Jonathan Stacey - Meteorologist

Utility companies across Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida scrambled to restore power to thousands of customers desperately in need of heat as a winter storm raged on Wednesday.

Heavy icing on trees has caused multiple power outages due to downed power lines, trees and limbs all over St. Simons Island, according to the Glynn County Fire Department. All three fire stations in the county are running on generator power.

"The wind was blowing the ice-laden trees onto the power lines. We saw these huge flames shoot up, maybe at least 40 to 50 feet," said Ray Lewis, a St. Simons Island resident who was without power. "The circuit breakers can only take it so many times, and it finally took the power out completely."

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, 197 customers in Glynn County, seven customers in Ware County and eight customers in Camden County were without power, according to Georgia Power.

For the latest Georgia Power numbers, click here.

The Okefenokee Co-op reported 708 customers without power at 11 p.m. Thursday, including 25 in Camden County, 115 in Charlton County, 21 in Brantley County, three in Glynn County and 33 in Nassau County.

For the latest Okefenokee outages, click here.

Power outages have been reported at gas stations, restaurants and homes in Baldwin County around the Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 1 interchange. 

Icy limbs falling on utility lines knocked out power for many residents in Baldwin, Macclenny, Bryceville and Glen St. Mary. 

"You hear branches falling on the roof and stuff, and you come out and you see all the limbs on the ground," Glen St. Mary resident Don Hogue said. "(It's) pretty loud. Especially when you hear the crack."

Some people who said they are concerned their power won’t come back on soon said they’re buying propane and getting their generators ready to heat their homes. 

"I saw a power line down on the road in about five different places," Willie Grimes said while buying propane in Baker County. "The limb hit it with ice, broke it all down. There’s ice everywhere."

Florida Power & Light also showed thousands without power at the height of Wednesday's outages. As of 11 p.m. Thursday, 13 customers in Nassau County did not have power. 

For the latest FPL numbers, click here.

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