Darlene Burnside’s family spent 24 hours without power from Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon, but she said not even Tropical Storm Irma could stop them from catching some NFL action or watching their favorite shows.
Burnside said the Suwanee area family used a HALO charging device and a General Electric Lantern that has a USB port on it to keep their mobile devices charged through the storm. She also said she bought cellular plans for her iPad before the storm, allowing it to be turned into a small TV when they weren’t playing Yahtzee on it.
“We just put the iPad on the table and watched the football games and my husband decided to catch up on his favorite show, Preacher, so had his ear buds in and watched that while we watched the game,” Burnside said.
The Burnside family was among the thousands of Gwinnett County residents who were left in the dark for a day or more by Tropical Storm Irma as they waited for crews to restore power to their homes. About 100,330 people were reportedly without power Monday night and crews worked throughout Tuesday to get them back up.
By Tuesday night, the number of Gwinnett residents who were without power was down to at least 28,958.
“It was incredibly difficult, and in some cases impossible to get out and make repairs (on Monday),” Jackson EMC spokeswoman April Sorrow said. “Everything is much better (Tuesday), so our crews have been trying to make repairs as fast as they can.”
Northern Gwinnett was especially hit hard by outages which lasted deep into Tuesday. At 6 p.m., 3,701 Georgia Power customers in the Buford and Sugar Hill areas were still without power, the largest group of customers in Gwinnett who still didn’t have power.
In all, Georgia Power reported 19,932 customers in Gwinnett didn’t have power at the time, compared to 45,000 customers at 6 p.m. on Monday. The outages were spread throughout the county.
Shyral Hyatt was one of the company’s customers in the Lawrenceville area who was left without power for about 26 hours after Irma hit. The lack of power was an inconvenience but not a major disruption for her, she said.
The power was restored Tuesday night. If anything, she said, the lack of power offered a chance to do some work around the house.
“I had the day off, so I mostly bored and tackled a project of sorting papers to keep or throw away,” Hyatt said. “I could do that in my doorway and keep an eye on my car where I had left my phone so I could charge it.”
Georgia Power officials warned customers who didn’t have power on Tuesday afternoon to be prepared to possibly remain powerless for an extended period of time as the company tried to assess where resources were needed most.
There were 545,307 Georgia Power customers across the state who were still without power Tuesday night. that was down from the nearly 1 million customers who were without power on Monday night.
“While the company is working around the clock, customers should plan ahead for the potential for extended outages, possibly days or weeks, due to the vast damage from the storm,” Georgia Power officials said in a statement. “Regional and statewide restoration estimates will be available as soon as assessment is completed.”
Jackson EMC, which is the Burnside’s power provider, brought in extra crews, including 175 from Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania who arrived on Tuesday afternoon to help get power back up.
The cooperative reported 3,869 customers in Gwinnett were still without power Tuesday night, compared to 27,998 customers at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Jackson single largest remaining outage area in Gwinnett was in the Woodhaven Downs area north of Lawrenceville, where 1,484 customers had been without power for nearly 31 hours as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The next largest outage area was on Hamilton Mill Road north of Interstate 85, where 768 customers had been without power for nearly 30 hours.
There were several areas throughout the county where smaller outages remained Tuesday night. The largest of those was 203 customers in the area near Sky Zone Trampoline Park in unincorporated Suwanee.
Burnside said her family, which is off McGinnis Ferry Road, near Satellite Boulevard, got their power back at about 4:35 p.m. All in all, she said she wasn’t upset about being without power for 24 hours since she’d prepared for a possible outage getting thermoses that could keep water hot, or at least warm, for 24 hours.
She also stocked up a cooler with foods that didn’t need to be heated up before the storm.
“Ex-military spouses know how to take care of a home,” she said.
Sorrow said the cooperative’s goal was to have power restored to all of its customers in a 10-county area by Wednesday afternoon at the latest.
A Lawrenceville spokesperson directed questions about the city’s power situation to the town’s Facebook page. The city operates its own electricity utility that provides power to Lawrenceville residents. Officials were expected crews from North Carolina to arrive Tuesday afternoon and had hoped to get power restored by Tuesday night.
“Paper Mill Road and New Hope Road, among other more heavily wooded areas, have been hit hard and will take time to restore, but our crews are on it,” city officials said in a Facebook update.
Meanwhile, Walton EMC reported 5,157 customers were without power on Tuesday night, down from about 27,332 customers who were without power at 6 p.m. on Monday.