Power outages from Michael could linger until next week

ATLANTA (AP) — Power outages caused by Hurricane Michael are likely to linger into early next week for some of the hardest hit communities in southwest Georgia.

More than 200,000 homes and businesses still didn’t have power Friday. Crews and property owners worked to clear fallen trees and debris and repair damage to homes and businesses.

Michael dropped from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 1 as it arrived in Georgia, and later weakened to a tropical storm as it headed for the Carolinas. But its high winds and pounding rains left downed trees and power outages behind.

The storm also killed an 11-year-old girl who was visiting her grandparents in Seminole County in the southwest corner of the state. Sarah Radney died when winds dropped a portable carport onto her grandparents’ home and one of the legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head. Her grandmother also suffered serious injuries.

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Georgia electrical workers were joined by reinforcements from other states as they worked around the clock to restore power.

Georgia Power said more than 71,000 customers were still affected by outages Friday. Georgia Electric Membership Corp., which represents the state’s electrical cooperatives, said more than 130,000 of its customers remained in the dark.

Both estimated that customers in the southwestern part of the state would likely have to wait until early next week to have power restored.

Recovering from Michael has been especially difficult because numerous high-voltage transmission lines, substations, distribution lines and power poles were severely damaged, said Georgia EMC spokeswoman Terri Statham.