Power outage dims downtown Albany

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Downtown Albany was in the midst of a power outage that started at noon and lasted 45 minutes Tuesday due to a tree limb falling on a primary power line.

The Dougherty County Library, the Law Enforcement Center, the Dougherty County School System Administration Building, the Albany Government Center, the judicial building and The Albany Herald were among the downtown entities that were without power.

According to the Albany Police Department, traffic lights at Washington Street and Oglethorpe Boulevard, Jackson Street and Oglethorpe Boulevard and Broad Avenue and Washington Street were not functioning during the power outage and uniformed officers were directing traffic.

Ashley Moore, assistant director for the Dougherty County Library, said because of the prolonged power loss some of the library's patrons were trapped on the third floor of the building.

"We placed a non-emergency 911 phone call to the police because individuals on our third floor were unable to make it down the stairs without assistance," Moore said. "They could not use the elevators because the power was out."

The Albany Fire Department responded to the library's call for help and arrived at the central branch of the library shortly before the power was restored.

"They (Albany firefighters) got here and were getting ready to begin helping the individuals down the flights of stairs when the power came back on, so the individuals ended up riding the elevator down," Moore said.

No fire alarms were activated and no emergency calls were made by library officials, said Moore.

"We, like everyone else, simply lost power to the building and everything is fine now," she said.

Water Gas & Light Commission General Manager Lemuel Edwards said Tuesday afternoon the utility company was working to determine what exactly caused the outage.

"We are tied up here on the phones and most of the operations are in the field now trying to restore the power as quickly as possible," Edwards said just before the power was restored.

Edwards said the cause of the outage was determined to stem from a burned down primary at the utility company's substation 10, which is off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

"We have had problems with tripped breakers and we are looking into whether the limbs from the storm yesterday may have caused the problem," he said.

Around 5 p.m. Tuesday, WG&L Spokesperson Lori Farkas confirmed the power outage was caused by a tree limb falling on a primary cable.

"The city of Albany were cutting tree limbs and one of them fell and hit a primary cable," she said.

Farkas said 250 customers were without power for 45 minutes Tuesday afternoon.

While Tuesday's power outage was not caused by strong storm winds or lightening, meteorologists from the National Weather Service (NW) said summer presents perfect conditions for frequent power outages.

"During the summer, we have high temperatures and high humidity," NWS meteorologist Don Van Dyke said. "Then, we get a lot of rising air and then thunderstorms are formed, which brings in heavy lightening and strong winds."

The meteorologist said after a brief afternoon shower, temperatures cool and the storms pass.