‘Superb teamwork’: Augusta area emergency crews shined in response to Tuesday’s storm

Strong winds tore through the Augusta area Tuesday as winter storm Finn made it’s destructive way across the country.

The storm, which brought heavy rain and 50 mph wind gusts, downed trees and power lines – leaving thousands of Augustans without power for hours as crews worked to remove debris from roadways and restore service.

In it’s wake, the storm left sizeable tree trunks scattered across Stevens Creek Road, rubble where a brick wall once stood surrounding Augusta University, and power lines bent against the Friedman Branch Library in Augusta.

FILE - A power line leans against the railing near the Friedman Branch Library off Jackson Road on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. A large storm front moved through the area in the afternoon, bringing a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch.

FILE – A power line leans against the railing near the Friedman Branch Library off Jackson Road on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. A large storm front moved through the area in the afternoon, bringing a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch.

Most of the severe weather passed over the area by about 4 p.m., but Georgia Power crews continued working through the night to restore power and clear roads for commuters Wednesday morning.

Columbia County, which endured the most power outages during the storm, leaned on first responders to help those in need of assistance during the dangerous weather.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported from midnight to 4 p.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to 132 calls for service – more than double the 65 calls for service deputies responded to on Monday.

Weather blog: Weather advisories remain in effect for Augusta area

Columbia County Fire Rescue followed the same trend, responding to 40 calls for service as of 5 p.m. Tuesday – where firefighters averaged 25 calls per day in 2023.

“Days like today is where Columbia County shines above the rest,” said Columbia County Emergency Management Director Shawn Granato. “Responding to emergencies takes the whole team working together to be successful. The actions of our dispatchers, firefighters, deputies, roads and bridges crews, emergency management employees, EMS crews, 311, our partners at the Columbia County School District, Georgia Power and Jefferson Electric, exemplified dedication and superb teamwork.”

Augusta Fire Department officials said firefighters responded to 74 calls for service from Monday night to Tuesday night, showing their commitment to keeping the Augusta community safe during the storm.

FILE - A lamp post lays on the sidewalk off Walton Way on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. A large storm front moved through the area in the afternoon, bringing a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch.

FILE – A lamp post lays on the sidewalk off Walton Way on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. A large storm front moved through the area in the afternoon, bringing a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to inquiries about calls for service during the storm as of Tuesday night.

City and county government offices, along with most public schools and universities, reopened Wednesday morning for normal operations.

However, the calm comes right before another storm predicted to bring similar dangerous weather conditions to the Augusta area on Friday.

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Augusta area first responders ran double the usual calls in storm

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