The Cherokee Emergency Operations Center (EOC) announced late Monday that campuses within the Cherokee County School District will open today as scheduled. The announcement came as Board of Commissioners Chairman Buzz Ahrens declared a local state of emergency for Cherokee County. Open the PDF on this page for the latest EOC briefing.
Just after 8:30 p.m. Monday, Georgia Power spokeswoman Christy Ihrig told Canton-Sixes Patch that about 2,500 customers in Canton and Holly Springs were without power. "We do have crews out there working on those outages right now to restore power," she said. "I don't have an estimated restoration for the total number. Hopefully, those customers will be back on soon."
All major roads were open as of 7 p.m. Monday, said Robby Westbrook, the county's director of homeland security and emergency management. "Many secondary roads along the damage path are closed due to debris and downed trees and power lines," he said. "County Roads and Bridges crews, city road department crews, and State DOT personnel are working to clear roads."
Local damage assessment teams will spread across the county at 8 a.m. today, Westbrook said.
While officials have not quantified the total impact of Monday's tornado, "damage reports received from field commanders indicate that dozens of homes, apartments and commercial structures have received a wide range of damage from minor to destroyed," he said.
Among the hardest hit areas: the Towne Lake Hills South subdivision and the Terraces at Towne Lake Apartment Homes, both located off Towne Lake Parkway. Each community had uprooted trees, busted windows, missing rooftops, damaged vehicles and rain-soaked homes. Residents described what they heard, what they saw, how they responded and how the tornado impacted them. Click here to watch what they had to say.
Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, said one man was injured when he was hit with debris as he tried to take cover in his basement. "It appeared that his injuries were superficial and he was transported by ambulance to an area hospital to be evaluated," officials from the Sheriff's Office and other agencies wrote in a joint press release.
EFFORTS TO MOVE FORWARD AND TODAY'S FORECAST
People worked through the afternoon and night to cover rooftops with blue tarps and clear streets filled with debris. Accommodations were made for displaced Terraces residents whose units were deemed unsafe and uninhabitable.
The American Red Cross provided assistance to two families in Cherokee County, Westbrook said. "All areas along the path are being evaluated for additional unmet needs," he said.
Cherokee County remains under a flash flood watch until noon. That means flooding is possible. Additionally, there's a wind advisory for Cherokee until 8 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. Showers, thunderstorms and wind gusts as high as 20 m.p.h. are all likely.
At 7 a.m., a Georgia Emergency Management Agency liaison will be assigned to the Cherokee EOC.
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