Tropical storm Irma, which ravaged metro Atlanta and left three dead across Georgia, was kinder to Dade County. Dade Roads Department chief Billy Massengale said the county had had no significant flooding and that most downed trees had been cleared from the streets by midmorning today.
Massengale said Sand Mountain had had three road blockages from fallen trees through the night and Lookout Mountain two or three. Those had been cleared quickly—but not by the Georgia Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for them, noted Massengale crustily.
“They told us they wouldn’t come out until today because it was too dangerous,” said Dade’s gravelly-voiced roads boss. “My point is, if it’s too dangerous for them, it’s too dangerous for us.”
Massengale said the county had had one employee and one Gradall road machine working last night, clearing trees from state roads. The rest of the problems, he said, had been taken care of by citizens and Dade volunteer fire departments.
Dade’s road crew look after county roads but the major thoroughfares—highways 11, 136 and 301, notably—are state roads. Historically, in crises such as snow or ice storms or wind events such as last night’s, the county complains that the state does not react quickly enough to help clear the roads.
New Salem Fire Chief Rodney Ross said his fire department and West Brow’s had both turned out last night and so had one of the fire departments on Sand Mountain, but that South Dade had had no occasion to and he wasn’t sure about Trenton. “It wasn’t that bad for us,” he said.
Still, Billy Massengale had had a busy morning, with crews clearing Sunset Drive, Plum Nelly, South Moore, Gordon Forester and Newsome Gap roads. Massengale said the only remaining serious blockage was on South Sunset along the power lines, and his crews were waiting for Georgia Power to address that.
And on the subject of Georgia Power, Massengale and others reported spotty power outages here and there but no major problems. The Planet could not reach Georgia Power or even access its online outage map, perhaps owing to more serious storm damage statewide. Colloquial and news media reports described massive outages in metro Atlanta and parts further south, where falling trees had killed two people, one at home and another in a car. A third fatality had resulted from high winds sweeping a man off a roof in south Georgia.
But Dade dodged that kind of bullet, and DeKalb and Jackson counties in Alabama reported they got even less from Irma. The DeKalb Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Emergency Management Authority both reported few to no calls, just hard rain until late evening, and agreed that in some cases no news is good news.