Storm Damage Around Every Other Turn in Decatur

A cursory glance around downtown Decatur and you might think things are almost back to normal after the Irma wind machine passed through town back on Monday.  Not a lot of structural damage.  Businesses have power.  Just get some of those traffic lights working and we’ll be back in business!  Right?

However, look a bit closer at the people and you’ll notice that something is very off.

Restaurant kitchen staff are exhausted from heavy crowds and restaurants are low – or plum out! – of food.  (“Another beer, sir?”  “Well, I need the calories, so yeah. Thanks.”)  Parents stare blankly into the distance, exhausted from their chaotic effort to empty the necessities out of the fridge when the power went out and racking their brains to figure out how to get their phone another fix of electricity.  And the children.  The kids seem lost, confused and looking desperately for anything to quell their boredom. What’s going on?

Decatur’s neighborhoods took the hit.

I took a quick run around the northside of the city this morning and was struck by how the extensive the storm damage from Hurricane Irma was in seemingly each neighborhood.

Honestly, I probably should have been a bit more prepared.  When I pulled up the city’s helpful map of road closures (as of 4p yesterday) I noticed that I would need to detour from each of my standard running routes to avoid a big red “road closed” dot.

And these aren’t small trees that are blocking these routes.  We’re talking big old trees that gave up the ghost in the passing storm.  Like the guy above, laying across Geneva Street in the Great Lakes.  Or this fella, resting off in the distance across Oakland Street.  The city continues to work to reopen each of these streets, but there are just a lot of trees down.

Meanwhile, maybe the most MAJOR of intersections in Decatur remains closed as crews continue to work on repairs at Scott Boulevard and Clairemont Ave.  As such, traffic is attempting to divert around it, resulting in full-on traffic jams on neighborhood streets, like this one on Superior Avenue in the Great Lakes. (FYI – Decatur PD was on the scene)

We’re into day 2 of recovery from Hurricane Irma.  Obviously there are many who have suffered much worse in the Irma’s wake.  Thank goodness most area grocery stores have reopened and that MARTA is back up and running, so many of our problems at this point are limited to inconvience.

Just one man’s account as a way to distract himself from the fact that he still doesn’t have power.

How are the rest of you all faring?

42 thoughts on “Storm Damage Around Every Other Turn in Decatur”


  1. Great post. It really does feel like we got hit harder than most areas in metro Atlanta, but maybe everyone feels that way. Lamont seems not to have any major tree-falls, but was half-filled today with cars detouring from Clairemont to get to Scott.

    And we spent the morning emptying the fridge and freezer of thawed and warmed food, since we’re on day 3 without power. I’m trying to be open-minded about the unique challenges this storm posed and the breadth of the damage, but the slow progress on the Clairemont/Scott intersection and power lines certainly raises some questions in mind about the response.

    Thanks to the staff at Dancing Goats for being up early with the caffeine yesterday and also the staff at the Imperial for a delicious lunch and welcome respite from the confines of our home.

    BTW, thanks too to whomever had the tip about emptying the ice out of the freezer dispenser before it melted! Otherwise we would have had quite the puddle.

  2. We love our old tree-lined streets in Dekalb county so this is one of the unique challenges of a beautifully natural environment.

  3. It’s a bit surreal making it to the office today to find not everyone has been living in the 18th century for the last three days.
    I’m ready to be back in the 21st Century, but GA Power apparently thinks we need more humility.

  4. Glad that our (old, brick) house has been comfy without HVAC–thankful that this power outage was not in the heat of summer or dead of winter. And the house is blissfully quiet at night without the thrum of various electrical appliances. Not that I won’t be glad to get power back.

  5. Our AT&T uverse has been out was for days meaning no internet, cable or phone…and we don’t get cell signal inside the house. Although it was kind of fun being totally untethered, we soon realized that much of kids homework/schoolwork pretty much depends upon internet connectivity. I tried to tell them to do it on the back of a shovel with a piece of charcoal like Honest Abe…and got dirty looks. Happy Recovery everyone!

  6. I’m thankful that our power was restored last night but I would prefer the power and tree crews concentrate on areas where traffic signals are effected like Clairmont & Scott.

    1. Clairemont & Scott was a major outage affecting maybe six of those large poles. Poles have to be installed, power restored and traffic signals re-hung. This morning there were six trucks from out of state working at that intersection. I think that’s about all the concentration you could expect.

      1. I was just at the fiesta package- yes, I wanted wine- and the power was out. They’d had power since the storm. The hope was that it was due to the repairs at Scott/clairmont and that it would be temporary. Fingers crossed.

      2. Listening to NPR this morning a GA Power representative stated that public safety concerns such as emergency facilities and hospitals have power restored initially. Then the outages are fixed which will restore power to greatest number of customers. Traffic signals do not receive priority but this may be reconsidered in the future. I’m only reporting what was said on the radio so take it for what it’s worth.

          1. We got take out once but mostly have been eating in–we have chickens so hot breakfasts involving eggs and I pulled some half thawed bacon from the freezer and cooked bacon and eggs by flashlight for the kids before school today–we are lucky to have a gas cooktop. We had meat in the freezer so cooked that on the grill last night with fresh fruit and whatever veggies were still good. Lots of sandwiches… Tonight I think it will be quesadillas as I have some cheese in the cooler and some avocados I could mash into guacamole…

  7. In my past (first hand unfortunately) experience, Decatur Public Works clears fallen trees out of the street and ROWs. Given the magnitude of this incident, is the City contracting out tree removal (in addition to City crews who are undoubtedly working their butts off)?

    1. If the tree in question is in proximity to a power line, the city can’t touch it. It must be a Georgia Power contractor.

  8. Perhaps if we were able to remove trees we deem dangerous without first obtaining permission from an extremely biaaed city official, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I guess we’ll never know.

    Luckily it didn’t happen this time, but someone is going to get killed by one of these old oak trees. There are a lot of them leaning over our bedrooms and our kids bedrooms. But let’s continue to prioritize the “rights” of the community in the “canopy” over our safety.

    1. I’d be interested to see how many requests for permits were rejected by the city for the trees that actually fell. My guess is that the number isn’t very high. But I agree – it shouldn’t be difficult to quickly remove a tree that is obviously dead/hazardous.

    2. This doesn’t add up. The city canopy ordinance allows any homeowner to remove up to three trees in an 18 month period for any reason. The permit you file is an information permit is so they can track canopy loss and replacement. There is no discretionary review on the part of city officials.

      So far as I know, discretionary review only takes place during construction, renovation, or land disturbance.

      1. I helped someone file a tree information permit as part of the 3 per 18 months. The permit was not “issued” until the arborist made a site visit and the contractor had to call repeatedly on the scheduled day of removal after waiting a couple of weeks. it definitely wasn’t just something we filed as a courtesy and it did have to be approved. Maybe that is not the way it’s supposed to work, but that was how it happened.

        1. Thx. Perhaps the site visit is to verify the canopy measurement? Did the official suggest that a denial was an option or was it just the inconvenience of their feet dragging?

          1. That’s a good question. It may have been to verify canopy, though that shouldn’t have conditioned issuance of the permit/giving go ahead to take it down. She also came back while the tree was being taken down to supervise the crew. It felt a little weird.

    3. Yes, let’s just cut down any tree anyone feels is dangerous.
      That’s what made Decatur great isn’t it? You forget how important
      our fast decling tree canopy is for our overall health and for the health of our community.
      Trees offer protection from lethal solar and atmospheric radiation that many of our buildings and structures don’t.
      Trees offer shade and lower local and global atmospheric and surface temperatures. Trees offer habitat for wildlife.
      Trees can even protect us from other falling trees. Maybe instead of complaining how we should be able
      To cut down a tree that we see as dangerous, we should be maintaining our tree canopies…as we have for so many years. That way we might understand, in advance, when a dangerous tree needs to be removed. Protect the trees and they will protect us!

      1. p.s. The only way to assure that no harm will come to person or property from falling trees or limbs…is to cut them all down. The great grassland prairie states offer endless, treeless landscapes for those interested in a tree-free lifestyle. Of course there is that incessant wind…and the dust storms…and the tornadoes.

  9. Power on Scott Blvd near Clairemont restored around 9:30pm. Some of the neighborhoods are served off Clairemont though, so hopefully that’s the next to get fixed.

  10. And the thousands of us who have sheltered evacuees from FL!!! Who knew?

    We have had tropical storms before – this is the first one that actually got a “warning” issued. Opal should have had one – she was a beast!!! I lost power at my old house for a few days. AJC reported that 161,000 of 310,000 Ga Power customers in DeKalb lost power. That’s over half!!!

    We were fortunate here, but when my Mom lived here in the ice storm of 73, she lost power for 10 days. Good news about that was that you could stick your food outside and it would keep nicely.

    I hate pine trees. I sent ALL of mine to a lumberyard. My neighbors should harvest theirs as well. Look y’all – you can send them off on logging trucks instead of to the landfill and they will become new homes!

    1. My house in Chamblee also was knocked out for a week back in 1973 during that ice storm. We finally moved into the old Days Inn at Chamblee-Tucker Road and I-85 until we got power back. All I remember was our little ranch house was like an icebox, so I’m glad Irma came through when the temperatures are milder.

  11. It appears that both Scott and Clairemont are both open. The intersection certainly is. Power has been restored to at least part of the Great Lakes. Westchester … not so lucky. Decatur schools are open. DeKalb schools are closed for the fourth day.

    We’re getting there.

    1. Yeah, they missed some transformers or other issues along Clairemont. Can’t always tell from the streets. Lots of homes still without power back here.

  12. Chill sis/bro. We know this doesn’t compare to the tragedies playing themselves out in our local and national regions. Just let the community email/etc. let us people voice our own concerns. We deserve the respect and time of day to deal with this gentrification crap!

    1. Oh well, this ramble was in response to a post which doesn’t seem to show up here…making it even more “rambly”. Anywho, hope everyone gets their power(and coffee shop visits) back today!

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