Savannah residents describe Hurricane Irma’s impact

By 2 p.m., the sun broke through the clouds and about a dozen residents were enjoying a drink downtown at Pinkie Masters, which did not lose power and opened at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

 

Bartender Burke Stewart said that keeping the bar’s clientele happy was key. The bar had also operated with beer and coolers throughout most of Hurricane Matthew after losing power.

“Pinkie Masters is a staple in the community,” he said. “During chaos, having a norm is probably the most appropriate way to keep people sane.”

A few blocks north the downtown Parker’s Market was doing brisk business, as locals, Florida evacuees and emergency responders purchased fuel and food. The store was opened at about 9 a.m. after closing at about 11 p.m. Sunday night, with some employees staying in the apartments above, said owner Greg Parker.

“The customers have been really appreciative,” Parker said.

At about 3 p.m., residents were walking their dogs and raking up debris downtown and in neighborhoods further south.

Savannah Alderman Julian Miller walked up to a large tree that had toppled over onto the roof of a house on East 51st St. The house was an exception to what he saw so far throughout the neighborhood, which was mostly just littered with small limbs and branches, Miller said.

“We dodged a bullet,” he said.

Savannah Alderman John Hall said there were some downed trees in Gordonston, but his district also looked relatively unscathed, Power was restored to his neighborhood, Sunset Park, around 6 p.m. after going out at about 1 p.m., Hall said.

“We look much better than we looked the day after Matthew,” he said.

 

Southside

Savannah Alderman Tony Thomas said before noon he was able to drive around through much of his Sixth District with little trouble. Aside from a big limb blocking the entrance to the Coffee Bluff Marina and a tree across Rose Dhu Road, most of the fallen limbs were small and there was no flooded roads. Power was down at his office on White Bluff Road, but still on at his house at Vernonburg Road.

“This is nothing compared to Matthew,” he said. “Of course I think we have a couple more hours of it.”

The tides were starting to come in at the time and Thomas said he expected Rose Dhu Road to be under water at some point. In addition, Thomas said that the Vernon River was holding a lot water and starting to flood the front lawns of houses in Vernonburg on Dancy Avenue.

“The river is higher than we’ve ever seen it before,” he said.

 

Thomas Square

Thomas Square resident Jason Combs said that at 11 a.m. his house at Price and 37th streets and the surrounding area still had power. There was no flooding and much less debris on the streets at that time, compared to what he saw during Hurricane Matthew, Combs said.

 

Ardsley Park

Ardsley Park neighborhood president Nick Palumbo said at about 10:20 a.m. his home on the 200 block of East 51st St. lost power at about 4:30 a.m. after hearing a big bang he assumed was a transformer blowing, and the neighbors have since been doing the “generator shuffle” to get some back-up power to their homes. There were some strong wind gusts this morning, but no rain accumulation or large trees down as far as he could tell. Prior to the storm, residents had made sure to clear out the storm drains, which might have helped, Palumbo said.

“You could have used a shovel to get some of the stuff out,” he said.

 

Downtown

Ruel Joyner has been hunkering down at his condo above his furniture store on Broughton Street, 24e Design Co. As of 9:30 a.m, Joyner said the power was on and the wind and rain has not been too severe. Some limbs were down, but no trees have been uprooted, and he has not seen any flooding, Joyner said.

“I’m not meaning to downplay this … because we are not through it, but so far it’s been like a strong summer storm at least from our perspective,” he said.

 

Gordonston

Gordonston resident Scott West said at about 9:40 a.m. he lost power at his house at 32nd and Skidaway at about 5:30 a.m. The area was experiencing a lot of rain and some wind, which blew open the gates of his security fence. Still, conditions were not too bad, West said.

“It’s like a nasty thunderstorm,” he said. “I hope it does not get any worse than this.”

 

West Savannah

West Savannah Community Organization President Ronald Williams said that as of 9:40 a.m. his power was on and the neighborhood was “looking pretty good.”

The rain was not as heavy as it was during Hurricane Matthew last year and the wind has not been strong, aside from some occasional gusts, Williams said.

 

Skidaway Island

Brian Huskey, who owns multiple local restaurants under the Gaslight Group brand, said that he lost power on Skidaway Island at about 9 a.m., but has not noticed any trees down or flooding around his house.

He expects the storm to have about a $60,000 impact on his business, however, after shutting down all of his restaurants Friday, aside from serving lunch at The 5 Spot at Habersham Village Saturday.

“You have to make a decision over employee safety or making a buck,” he said.

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