ATLANTA (AP) — The number of power outages in Georgia continued to drop Wednesday after Irma slogged through the state as a tropical storm, claiming at least two lives.
Fewer than 363,000 Georgia Power and Electric Member Corp. customers remained without electricity Wednesday night. Georgia Power said in a news release that 95 percent of its customers should have their lights back on by Sunday night, except for homes and businesses too damaged to get reconnected.
Gov. Nathan Deal planned to tour storm-damaged areas of northern and coastal Georgia on Thursday. That's also when coastal Georgia's second largest county planned to let evacuated residents finally return.
Officials in Glynn County, which includes Brunswick and St. Simons Island, said people could start coming home Thursday morning — two days after the governor lifted evacuation orders. Authorities in the county of more than 83,000 had barred evacuees from returning, saying widespread loss of power, water and sewer service made conditions unsafe.
Meanwhile, authorities Wednesday identified a metro Atlanta man whose death has been blamed on the storm. Stanley Williams, 59, was crushed Monday when a tree fell on his home in suburban Sandy Springs, said Mark Gilbeau, an investigator for the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.
A tree falling onto an occupied car Monday killed a woman in Fosyth County. The sheriff's office said in a news release that Nancy Eason was fatally injured as the tree pinned the 67-year-old retired court reporter and her husband inside the vehicle. The woman's husband, Mike Eason, suffered minor injuries. The sheriff's office said he is a former Cumming police chief and a retired agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Irma prompted Deal to order evacuations for nearly 540,000 people from the Georgia coast. He also declared a state of emergency across all 159 Georgia counties. Though Irma's center merely crossed the Georgia's southeast corner after churning northward from Florida, tropical storm-force winds spread more than 400 miles (644 kilometers) across and touched nearly the entire state.
The worst damage was reported along the coast, where homes along the beaches, marshes and rivers flooded from storm surge amplified by unusually high lunar tides.