A female was killed Monday late afternoon after a tree downed by winds from now-Tropical Storm Irma fell on her vehicle as she and her husband pulled into their north Forsyth driveway.
Forsyth County firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and paramedics responded to the “private driveway” near Shadburn Road shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 11, according to Deputy Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
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“We diligently tried to rescue the female inside with personnel using chainsaws and the 'jaws of life,' [however] she died at the scene from her injuries from the tree striking her vehicle.
“Her husband was in the driver’s seat of the car and was checked [for injury] by fire personnel and EMTs, but he was not transported [to a hospital].”
Rainwater said the sheriff’s office is not releasing the names of those involved until family and friends are notified.
The storm has caused damage throughout the county, with about 12,000 residents having lost power as of 6:30 p.m., Rainwater said.
By 7:30 p.m., the count had reached nearly 20,000, according to a Sawnee EMC outage map.
The sheriff’s office is urging people to remain inside and not attempt to venture into the storm.
The Red Cross said there is a flood warning for Big Creek in south Forsyth.
The accident is not the first fatality Irma claimed in Georgia. As the storm weakened to a still-deadly tropical storm as it swirled beyond Florida Monday, two people in metro Atlanta were killed, trees crashed into homes and the world’s busiest airport canceled hundreds of flights in to and from Atlanta.
The body of a 62-year-old man who climbed a ladder behind his home was found under debris on the roof of his shed in southwest Georgia, where winds topped 40 miles per hour, Worth County sheriff’s spokesman Kannetha Clem said. His wife had called 911 saying he’d had a heart attack.
“He was lodged between two beams and had a little bit of debris on top of him,” Clem said. “He was on the roof at the height of the storm.”
Another man, in his 50s, was killed just outside Atlanta when a tree fell on his house, Sandy Springs police Sgt. Sam Worsham said.
And still another, Charles Saxon, 57, became South Carolina’s first recorded death when he was struck by a tree limb while cleaning debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls amid wind gusts of about 40 mph, according to a statement from Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley.
Communities along Georgia's coast were swamped by storm surge and rainfall arriving at high tide Monday afternoon. On Tybee Island east of Savannah, Holland Zellers was grabbing a kayak to reach his mother in a home near the beach.
"In the street right now, the water is knee-to-waist deep," Zeller said.
Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen said waters were receding quickly, but many of the 3,000 residents' homes were flooded.
"I don't think people who have lived here a long time have ever seen flooding this bad," Gillen said.
The tidal surge sent damaged boats rushing more than three blocks onto downtown streets in St. Marys, just north of the Georgia-Florida state line, St. Marys Police Lt. Shannon Brock said.
Downtown Atlanta hotels remained full of evacuees. Many milled about the CNN Center, escaping crowded hotel rooms in search of open restaurants. Many were glued to storm coverage on the atrium's big screen. Parents pointed out familiar sites, now damaged, to their children.
"We've been here since Friday night, and we're ready to go home" to Palm Beach County, Marilyn Torrence said as her 4-year-old colored.
The tropical storm warning applied to almost all of Georgia, parts of South Carolina and most of eastern Alabama. Meteorologist Keith Stellman said Atlanta's airport recorded sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) with gusts up to 64 mph (103 kph). The National Weather Service said flooding rains were a major concern Monday, with 8 to 15 inches (20 to 38 centimeters) of rainfall predicted in southeast Georgia. Alabama Emergency Management Agency meteorologist Jim Stefcovich said strong winds could linger until 2 a.m. Tuesday.
About 800 flights had been canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which remained operational Monday, even as many planes turned corners of the tarmac into a parking lot. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority suspended all bus and rail services Monday and would decide later whether to resume operations Tuesday. Downtown Atlanta's streets were eerily quiet, with restaurants, businesses and schools closed. Traffic flowed easily on the city's interstates, normally a sea of brake lights during rush hours.
More than 1.2 million Georgia Power and EMC customers mostly in coastal and south Georgia were without power. Alabama Power reported 45,000 outages. Utilities said thousands of employees were prepared to respond, but repairs could take several days.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.