Coweta County didn’t totally escape the wrath of Hurricane Michael as it moved through the area late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
The height of the storm hit the county between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., bringing with it heavy downpours and wind gusts peaking at 38 mph, according to Meteorologist Matt Sena with the National Weather Service.
The strong winds knocked down tree and power lines across Coweta County, said Jay Jones, director of the Emergency Management Agency and 911 center.
Some people, mainly in the southern part of the county around Moreland, Senoia and Grantville, briefly lost power during the storm.
According to the Coweta-Fayette EMC website, around 23,000 customers had no electricity after a transmission line blew at their Brooks station.
Fortunately, there were no serious incidents associated with the weather, said Coweta County Fire Rescue Chief Pat Wilson.
“We had a few trees down, but no major damage with the strong winds. No loss of life – that’s really big. We faired a lot better than our friends in south Georgia. We were blessed that we didn’t feel the full effect,” he said. “The last time we saw a storm this big was Tropical Storm Opal in 1995, and Coweta County was devastated.”
While the winds remained under tropical storm force, the rain ended up being more than NWS meteorologists expected.
According to Sena, between 2 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. Thursday, Coweta County saw rainfall amounts ranging from 5-6 inches.
A NWS rain gauge near Whitesburg measured a total of 6.5 inches of rain.
The initial expectation was between 2-3 inches of rain.
“The bigger rain was supposed to be just east of us, but it ended up shifting to the west. It’s very hard to tell ahead of time where a storm’s rainbands are going to set up,” Sena explained. “We had persistent bands of rain that came through Wednesday afternoon when the storm was still south of us. Another band came through Wednesday night that was stationary for a long time.”
Hurricane Michael washed on shore just east of Panama City Beach as a Category 4 storm with winds topping 145 mph.
Michael was still a Category 3 hurricane packing winds of 115 mph when it crossed into southwest Georgia Wednesday evening.
While the storm slowly lost strength as it crossed over land, it still caused massive amounts of damage along the Florida Panhandle and in south Georgia.
The storm caused one death in the state. An 11-year-old girl in Seminole County was killed when she was hit by flying debris, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
President Donald Trump and Gov. Nathan Deal are expected to visit the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Michael early next week to survey the damage.