High winds blow down trees, knock out power across CSRA

Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 6:40 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2022 at 10:50 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As winds whipped up Friday morning ahead of a cold snap, trees started coming down across the CSRA, blocking traffic and causing power outages for thousands of people.

Among the latest problems was a power line across Columbia Road at Wendover Way in Columbia County. Around 11 a.m., county officials said drivers needed to find an alternate route to avoid the area near St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church.

A firetruck blocks Columbia Road on Dec. 23, 2022, to keep cars from driving near a power line...
A firetruck blocks Columbia Road on Dec. 23, 2022, to keep cars from driving near a power line that fell down in the roadway.(WRDW)

Edgefield, Aiken and McDuffie counties dealt with several trees down early when the wind started blowing, but crews with chainsaws made quick work of the problem.

At least one downed tree was associated with a traffic accident. A car hit a tree around 7 a.m. at 1785 W. Martintown Road just outside North Augusta. The driver was taken to a hospital and the roadway was cleared quickly, but debris on the pavement showed where the tree had fallen.

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A tree came down on a car in Edgefield County, but no one was reported injured. Multiple cars may have been hit by a tree that came down in McDuffie County.

The Glascock County Sheriff’s Office said it had multiple reports of trees down and in roadways.

So did the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, which activated its emergency response team. The team was prepared to assist the Burke County Emergency Management Agency and the public, including cutting and removing trees and debris from roadways to ensure safe travel.

As an arctic blast moved in, First Alert meteorologists warned that winds would be high due to the temperature differential between that air and the 51-degree conditions from overnight in the CSRA. They also said the ground was so wet that roots wouldn’t have as tight a grip on the soil as in drier conditions.


Blocked roads weren’t the only problem from the high wind; there were power outages, too.

More than 1,200 customers lacked electricity for a time in an area of Augusta south of Gordon Highway and roughly between Deans Bridge and Peach Orchard roads. By 11 a.m., their power had been restored.

Columbia County officials said that at one time, about 3,000 customers were without power, including people in the areas of Chamblin Road/Canterbury Farms, Stevens Creek Church, and Cobbham Road. A generator was deployed to Industrial Park Drive at Ronald Reagan Drive, where a traffic signal was out.


Jefferson Energy Cooperative, which serves several rural areas outside Augusta, was hit with outages across at least seven of the 11 counties it serves. As of about 9:15 a.m., the co-op had 26 outages affecting 1,120 members in Burke, Columbia, Richmond, Jefferson, Glascock, McDuffie, and Warren counties.

Across the Savannah River in South Carolina, most of the Johnston and Edgefield areas were without power for a time in an outage affecting nearly 3,000 customers. Power had been restored to most by 8 a.m., but 1,300 customers in and around Saluda were still affected by an outage.

There were many outages in the North Augusta area, but each one mainly affected one or two customers, although there were two larger areas affected. Around 7:30 a.m., the number of North Augusta customers without power totaled about 150.

Georgia Power said its outages were primarily concentrated in north Georgia and Atlanta.

“To our customers directly affected by this winter storm, we recognize it’s extremely cold and that we’re in the midst of the holiday season,” said Ryan Poole, Georgia Power’s manager of storm center operations. “On behalf of the Georgia Power team, we thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Roadway problems

Among Friday morning’s reports of trouble across the CSRA:

  • A tree came down on Republican Road near Lanham Road in Edgefield County.
  • A tree was blocking the roadway around 8:25 a.m. in the 3000 block of Martintown Road.
  • At 7:45 a.m., a large tree was blocking the roadway at Bates Hill and Landing roads in Jackson.
  • A power lines fell across Flat Rock Road near Highway 23 in Edgefield County.
  • A tree and power line came down on Thomson Highway near Highway 220 West in Lincoln County.
  • A tree blocked the roadway at Main Drive and Nicholson Drive off Wagener Road just northeast of Aiken.
  • A tree blocked traffic at Powderhouse Road and Banks Road in Aiken County.
  • A tree fell on a car on Sweetwater Road in Edgefield County. No one was reported hurt.
  • A tree blocked on Bauskett Street between Brooks and Glover in Edgefield.
  • There was downed power line and tree in the 200 block of Deerwood Drive in Burke County.