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Thousands seek shelter in Columbia County

1:02 AM, Feb 14, 2014   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Residents in Columbia County are continuing to seek shelter in the aftermath of this week's ice storm.

A shelter at Patriots Park outside of Augusta, Ga. filled up after thousands of people lost power from trees downed from the storm. At one point, 90 percent of Columbia County's population were without power.

"Thousands of trees down," said Pam Tucker, the director of Columbia County's emergency operations. "An inch of ice is tremendous. It may not sound like a like when you are talking about rain or snow - when you're talking about ice, that is tremendous."

The Red Cross has had to bring in doesn't have extra cots from other parts of the state along with food to feed entire families displaced by the crisis.

The Georgia National Guard has literally been a godsend to hundreds of storm victims in the community, and it doesn't hurt that some of them are chaplains who can provide counseling as well as rides and security.

For Bill and Betty Chambers, a power outage is more than an inconvenience. Bill is a decorated vet who needs an oxygen machine for his lungs and a defibrillator for his heart.

"He's on oxygen and when the power went out at 6 o'clock, and we thought we'd tough it and snuggle and try to stay warm - with no oxygen I got scared," Betty Chambers said. "And we got up this morning - you couldn't even breathe, it was that cold. So I figured we better get some help."

Crews will resume work to clear power lines on Friday.

Local officials are hoping for funds from the state and the federal government to help offset the costs.

Related:

Gov. Deal visits hard-hit areas of the state in wake of ice storm

Current list of closings and delays

Help Desk: Emergency Shelters and Warming Centers in Atlanta


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