News 12 First at 5 / Tuesday, April 5, 2011
AUGUSTA---Many are still without power after this morning's powerful storm swept the area. Everything from tree limbs to power lines covered the roads, but that did not stop dedicated patrons from making the trip to the Masters Tournament.
Patrons received a stormy welcome this morning when they drove into Augusta. “Oh it was horrible,” said Gary O’Shea. “But I made it here alive.”
Tree limbs littered many roads. One piece of debris by Washington Road was shoved to the side to make room for drivers. Masters patron Art Burke told News 12, “Oh my gosh, the rain had passed through and the wind was buffeting my car quite a bit. I could feel the wind dramatically as I was driving.”
O'Shea flew in from Maryland, a trip that took longer than he expected. “I was supposed to catch a flight from Atlanta to here. Got caught in a storm, took off, went back to Atlanta,” he said.
He was not going to let that stop him. He rented a car and drove to Augusta through the storm. “It was extremely windy, rainy, must have been a small tornado on I-20. A lot of downed trees snapped off.“
Dennis Hutley added, “Little windy, trucks were bouncing a little bit, bumping the car. One tractor trailer jackknifed. They were trying to get it off the road."
Drivers also had to deal with downed power lines and traffic lights that were out through major intersections where golf traffic is being redirected this week.
Rusty Welsh with Columbia County EMA said, ”Motorists need to be careful to watch out for traffic signals, making sure they are operational as they should be, and making sure power lines aren't extra low.”
With most of the roads cleared this afternoon, O'Shea says the rain will not dampen his spirits for the rest of the week.