Hurricane Michael

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Tucked away in a corner of the Pine Knoll Pecan Grove near the town of Pretoria is one of those things that Mitch Bulger says made the decades he spent living and working  here worth it.  

"I promise you,” he told me. “Stick your finger in that. It’s the coldest water.”


Georgia Department of Agriculture

Georgia's agriculture industry suffered devastation at the hands of Hurricane Michael. Pecan trees were toppled, chicken houses destroyed, and seemingly all farmers in southwest Georgia are working to recover. Cotton was no exception. More than a million acres were planted this year before Michael hit. 

 

Today on the show, we surveyed the state to discuss issues of educational policy, in addition to farming after Hurricane Michael.

GPB reporter Grant Blankenship spoke about about gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp's visions for Georgia's education system. We also spoke with farmers, comissioners, and representatives from the Georgia Farm Bureau about the devastating loss of crops in southeast and southwest Georgia due to hurricane damage.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Vice President Mike Pence visited on Tuesday parts of southwest Georgia impacted by Hurricane Michael.  His trip comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's visit to the state on Monday. Pence spoke at the annual Sunbelt Ag Expo, an agriculture trade show in Moultrie.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Hurricane Michael swept across south Georgia last week, devastating the state's pecan orchards, cotton plants, chicken coops and peanut crops. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Brock Long said Monday the true cost of the devastation won't be clear for some time. Irwin County pecan grower Randy Hudson and Berrien County cotton grower Mark Peele told "On Second Thought" they expect it could take generations for Georgia farmers to recoup their losses — if ever.

"You can't walk away, but then I'm sitting here with such a dead load," said Hudson, a fifth-generation pecan farmer. "How do I repay this now? How do I start over?"


Georgia Department of Agriculture

President Donald Trump was in Georgia Monday to survey the damage from Hurricane Michael. The storm killed at least 19 people. Michael also ravaged Georgia's agriculture industry, splitting decades — and even centuries — old pecan trees down the middle and stripping cotton plants across thousands of acres in South Georgia.

 

"We lead the nation in pecan production, peanut production, forest products production ... in cotton and vegetables, but, unfortunately, today, we lead in destruction," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told "On Second Thought."


Grant Blankenship / GPB

A little after sun up, the fleet of electrical linemen were on the roads of Dougherty County in southwest Georgia, but at the health department April Smith was on a different mission. She had a tree on the roof, no power and a hungry baby.

“Please, dear Lord I can't take any more,” she said to herself as she walked to the door of the health department. “She's got one can of formula. One can of formula. And I don't have food stamps to go buy it.”

The health department where she was hoping to find the formula was supposed to be open at 7 a.m. At 8:30 it still looked like a ghost town. So, no food for the baby.  Smith wasn’t sure what her next move was.


Andrew Harnik / AP

Voters in Clay, Grady, Randolph and Turner counties have been given an extension to register to vote due to Hurricane Michael.

Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order Monday allowing citizens of those counties to submit voter registration applications through Oct. 16. 

Hurricane Michael caused the election offices in the affected four counties to be closed Tuesday, Oct. 9, which was the last day to register to vote in the state.  

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Nearly a week after Hurricane Michael barreled in to the Florida Panhandle, more than 50,000 people in southwest Georgia are still without power.

Dougherty County officials said on Monday that 13,000 people are without electricity in Albany and the surrounding area. That includes Tasha Wilson, who was waiting in a long line of cars to get ice, water and ready-to-eat meals from National Guardsmen.

“I have been without power for six days,” Wilson said. “I have a child with diabetes, medical problems. It’s just a disaster.”

Trump to Visit Storm-Damaged Parts of Georgia

Oct 15, 2018
President Donald J. Trump aboard Air Force One as he talks on the phone with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal about the latest impact update on Hurricane Matthew.
Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump plan to visit Georgia Monday to tour areas hit by Hurricane Michael. The pair will be accompanied by Georgia Sen. David Perdue. 

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has extended the state of emergency he declared as Hurricane Michael made its way toward the state. 

Deal first announced the state of emergency on October 9 before Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida. The 108 counties included in the declaration cover much of South and Central Georgia. 

The state of emergency will now run through November 6 as communities across Georgia recover.

Georgia Pecan Commission

It could take years for some of Georgia's pecan crops to recover after Hurricane Michael tore through the southwest part of the state on Wednesday.  

Tim Brown is with Apollo Pecan Nursery and Groves in Preston, Ga., about halfway between Columbus and Albany. 

He says many of their trees are younger, which means they were more flexible in withstanding high winds and heavy rains. But other nurseries in the area weren't as lucky. 

Dougherty County officials said on Monday that 13,000 people are without electricity in Albany and the surrounding area.
Dave Goldman / AP/File

More than 200,000 utility customers remain without power after Hurricane Michael.

Most of these residents are in the southwestern part of the state.

RELATED: With Power Out Watch For Boil Water Advisories

Georgia Power expects to restore power in Central and West Georgia this weekend. But the Albany area will have to wait until Monday, and the Bainbridge area until Wednesday at midnight.

Ron Shipman with Georgia Power said it's a long process.

United Soybean Board / Flickr

Some of Georgia's cotton and pecan farmers had their worst fears realized after Hurricane Michael tore through the southwestern part of the state.

The damage didn’t stop there as chicken farmers weren’t able to escape the storms the wrath.


Josephine Bennett/GPB News

Florida and Georgia are left picking up the pieces following Hurricane Michael.

The storm claimed the lives of at least 11 people, including an 11-year old girl old girl who died after a tree fell on her home in Seminole County. Michael also has left damages amounting to billions of dollars, which will affect Georgia's agriculture activities. Utility crews around the state were still working to restore power to thousands on Friday.


Utility companies estimate as many as a quarter-million Georgians were without power Friday morning, and the lights won't be back on in some places until Tuesday, Georgia Power estimates.

Georgia Electric reported 137,598 outages and Georgia Power reported 1,277 outages about 12:30 p.m.

The slow and tedious process of restoration means residents must pay attention to safety advisories.

Josephine Bennett/GPB News

Central Georgia continues to clean up following Hurricane Michael. Damage was widespread and hit some communities harder than others. GPB’s Josephine Bennett reports.


Roslyn Palmer

South Georgia residents are recounting the fear of having to ride out Hurricane Michael as the powerful storm made its way across the state.

Nicole Kirksey in Plains, Thor Ott in McRae, and Kippy Tift and her son, Ray Moody, in Valdosta, shared their experiences, including having to take refuge in a shelter built during the Cold War.


Ross Terrell / GPB News

Thursday morning was the first chance for Georgians to assess the damage done after Hurricane Michael made its way through the state Wednesday evening.


  • One Death Attributed To Hurricane Michael In Georgia
  • Georgia's Agriculture Industry Hit Hard
  • President Trump Likely To Visit Storm Damaged Areas Next Week. 

Chuck Burton / AP Photo/File

The destruction from what was Hurricane Michael left thousands of people in Georgia without power, officials said Thursday.

But as some take solace in starting up a gas-powered generator, experts warn of associated dangers such as carbon monoxide poisoning and risk of electrocution.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

A historic hurricane ripped through Florida's Panhandle and into southwest Georgia late Wednesday, killing two people in its path.

Gov. Nathan Deal held a news conference online at 10:30 a.m.

HELP AVAILABLE: Hurricane Michael Federal Resources Available In Southwest Georgia

President Donald J. Trump declared a state of emergency in Georgia and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts. FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.

David Goldman / AP Photo/File

Vice President Mike Pence has canceled a planned trip to Atlanta to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp.

According to the VP's press secretary, Pence postponed his trip after being briefed on the impact of Hurricane Michael late Wednesday evening.

Michael is now a tropical storm near the Georgia/South Carolina border.  Strong winds, heavy rain, and tornadoes are expected across portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina today.
National Hurricane Center/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Officials in Seminole County say what is now Tropical Storm Michael is responsible for the death of an 11-year-old girl.


Cat 3 Hurricane Michael Arrives In SW Georgia

Oct 10, 2018

Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 early Wednesday afternoon and moved into southwest Georgia as a Category 3 storm, officials said.

You can follow updates from GEMA here.

A tornado watch was issued until 2 a.m. Thursday for most of the state and tornado warnings have been issued as far north as Cobb County.


Weather hurricane michael hurricane
Brendan Farrington / Associated Press

Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday. The hurricane is expected to later hit Southwest and Central Georgia, according to the National Weather Service.

We spoke with Marshall Shepherd, the program director for atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, about tracking the hurricane over the week and how meterologists convey the severity of storms. We also spoke with Gwen Cooper, an author and pet rescue expert about what to do with pets during extreme weather.


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Gov. Nathan Deal's office

Barely a month after cleanup from the last major hurricane to hit the Southeast, Hurricane Michael is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida Panhandle and damaging winds through Georgia, officials say.

About 10 a.m. Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in 92 counties in the state.

Michael is expected to make landfall Wednesday as a Category 3 major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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