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Storm disrupted downtown Cumming

Many were without power for hours

POSTED: June 24, 2014 2:37 p.m.
Jim Dean/

Emergency personnel blocked Castleberry Road on Monday after this tree fell on a power line, causing a service outage throughout most of downtown Cumming.

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CUMMING — Much of downtown Cumming was without power for about five hours Monday after a strong thunderstorm swept across Forsyth County.

The storm, packing high winds and heavy rain, also disabled several traffic lights downtown and caused damage to a south Forsyth business.

According to Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft, about 1,900 customers lost power Monday for at least 20 minutes. About 47 of those, including the city of Cumming, were out for five hours.

“There were eight total events in the Cumming area,” Kraft said. “There were several outages in the same area.

“It was a tree that caused the power outage in the area.”

And that one tree likely impacted more than a single power line, said Kraft, adding that there were three outages just along Castleberry Road.

Between an outage on Castleberry and another on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, more than 90 customers went dark from about 2:45 to 7:45 p.m.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said during Monday’s afternoon thunderstorm, a transformer was struck on Castleberry Road.

“It took out two out of the four traffic lights on the square for some time,” he said.

The fire department arrived after the power outage began at about 2:45 p.m. and stayed on scene for less than 30 minutes before Georgia Power arrived to restore the transformer.

“When it comes to power lines and transformers, our job is to ... keep the public safe,” Shivers said. “Our job was just to stand by for [Georgia Power] for safety.”

The power outage affected many businesses in the downtown area, as well as the traffic signals.

Bryan Zimbardi, a spokesman for Cumming police, said it was a while before officers were able to reach the disabled signals and direct traffic.

“We had two people on trees down and one guy in an injury accident,” he said. “... So during that first bit when the lights were out, we had everybody out.”

According to Zimbardi, the crash happened on Hwy. 9 and Dahlonega Road when a Chevrolet Equinox driven by a juvenile rear-ended a Nissan Altima.

The juvenile suffered arm injuries and his passenger had a visible broken bone, Zimbardi said. There were no major injuries in the other vehicle.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s spokesman Doug Rainwater said while city police directed traffic downtown, deputies responded to several trees that had fallen on roads.

“We quickly removed them with the assistance of county roads and bridges [crews], so there were actually no road closures due to trees,” he said.

In addition to the trees, a structure at Midway Building Supply was damaged by wind.


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