2017-09-13 / Front Page

Storm damage here minimal

Ledger Staff Writer

While some areas of Cherokee County experienced power outages that were still ongoing as of Tuesday afternoon, the remnants of Hurricane Irma thankfully did little damage here Monday evening.

Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Rick Peterson said there were approximately 50 reports of fallen trees, as well as additional reports of fallen power lines, but that no major structural damage or injuries were reported to his office.

“We had several roads closed for the short term until we could get some big equipment out,” Peterson said. Temporary detours were set up on two other roads, including Blackwell Road in the Buffalo Fire District of Blacksburg and Leagon Drive in Blacksburg due to storm damage.

On Blackwell Road, Fire Chief Josh Parker said, a tree fell and took out a power pole, power lines and cable. Barricades set up Monday evening were still up at noon Tuesday. Parker said at least two or three homeowners were impacted.

Stateline Road in the Cherokee Creek Fire District also was closed Monday evening due to a large tree and power lines blocking the road.

Josh Crotzer, spokesman for the Broad River Electric Cooperative, said the power outages impacted about 1,600 customers overall throughout the co-op’s multi-county area and that all power was restored by 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The largest area impacted was in the Corinth vicinity, where approximately 500 customers were impacted by trees falling into power lines.

Duke Energy, meanwhile, was still dealing Tuesday with sporadic power outages across the county. As of Tuesday afternoon, a Duke power outage map showed eight outages in a neighborhood near Mary Black Health System - Gaffney, five outages in the area of Elm Street, and 35 outages in the area of Grassy Pond Road and Cherokee National Highway. Duke reported numerous other outages in the region, but those were impacting just individual homes.

At one point Monday afternoon, Duke was reporting an outage in a wide area from South Green River Road to Hyatt Street that impacted more than 500 customers.

Gaffney firefighters responded to one report of a tree that fell on a Carson Drive home but Fire Capt. Jody Brasington said damage appeared to be minor with no penetration of the interior. He said firefighters simply cut away enough of the fallen tree to allow the residents to get in their back door.

While he didn’t have Gaffney-specific data, Peterson said forecasters had been calling for Cherokee County to see sustained winds of 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 on Monday. Based on what he saw, Peterson estimated that those estimates were spot on.

Peterson, along with other emergency service agencies, had been gearing up for much worse damage based on original forecasts that Hurricane Irma was going to make landfall on the South Carolina coast.

With Irma gone, officials are now turning their attention to Hurricane Jose, which is currently traveling east but is expected to reverse course by Friday.

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