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Winter returns
Strong gusts topple trees, power lines
Fallen Tree 2 es
Brian Pritchett with Sawnee EMC cuts apart a tree that fell on a power line Wednesday in northeastern Forsyth County. - photo by Emily Saunders

High winds on the heels of heavy rain Wednesday triggered multiple power outages across Forsyth County.

"We had a pretty active day because of the wind," said Blake House, a spokesman for Sawnee EMC. "Any time you have 3 to 4 inches of rain, which saturates the ground, and then is followed by high winds, you're going to have trees fall."

House said 80 outages were reported throughout the Cumming-based utility's seven-county service area Wednesday. He couldn't pinpoint the exact number of outages in Forsyth, but said 8,000 people were affected in Sawnee's coverage area.

House said the average outage time lasted about an hour, as crews were able to respond quickly.

Georgia Power spokesman David Seago said about six customers reported outages.

"We had almost nothing out in Forsyth," he said. "We basically had less than 10 outages ... We had several thousand out in metro Atlanta, but we were very fortunate in the Forsyth area."

The winds followed several days of rain, which at times was heavy.

The Forsyth County Extension Service has previously cautioned that heavy rain following a long period of drought can help topple weakened trees.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said there were "a number of trees down due to the wind."

"It ranged from trees over roadways to the more dangerous trees over power lines and small fires," Shivers said. "There were no injuries and no reports of significant damage, but enough activity to keep us busy and to be an inconvenience to the motoring public."

Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Frank Huggins said the department reported 17 wrecks Wednesday, though none were described as major.

"Everyone exercised a lot of caution during the inclement weather," Huggins said.