THE LATEST: Thousands returning home to Hurricane Matthew's afte - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

THE LATEST: Thousands returning home to Hurricane Matthew's aftermath

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Thousands are slowly returning home to Hurricane Matthew's aftermath.

People are now beginning to clean up damage from the storm.

The torrential rain and powerful winds took a toll on area coastlines, flooding streets and downing trees and power lines.

Thousands are still in the dark Monday morning. Georgia Power has completed the first full day of restoration and as of 11:30 a.m. Monday, more than 133,000 customers without power and crews are working safely to restore service in the following areas: Savannah Area - 84,000; Brunswick Area - 13,000; Springfield Area - 20,000; Statesboro Area - 3,000; Hinesville Area - 7,000; Jesup Area - 3,000; St. Simons Area - 2,500; Jekyll Island - 275.

The latest outage numbers for the South Carolina Lowcountry from SCE&G are: Hampton County - 2,868; Beaufort County - 32,387; Jasper County - 4,497; Colleton County - 9,621. Palmetto Electric is reporting about 37,000 customers without power.

Beaufort County is also under a curfew until 7 a.m. Monday, but the county is back open. Once the 7 a.m. curfew lifts Monday, residents will once again be allowed to re-enter the county. However, the barrier islands like Hilton Head, Hunting and Fripp islands, are still closed due to extensive damage. Beaufort County has set up Red Cross shelters at Whale Branch High and Bluffton High schools for those who cannot access their homes just yet. Residents trying to come home will be turned away and directed to one of the two shelters. The county is also working on setting up PODS with food and water for residents who did decide to stay during Hurricane Matthew on St. Helena and Hilton Head Islands. 

Beaufort County has not set a time or date for complete re-entry at this time. Residents should call 1-800-963-5023 before attempting re-entry into Beaufort County.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for all Georgia coastal counties. Although Chatham County is open, a curfew is still in place and continues through 7 a.m. Monday morning. Residents can start to re-enter the county again after the curfew lifts at 7 a.m. Areas that remain closed hope to re-open soon.

And for those who have not returned yet, city officials encourage you to be patient. Expect lengthy travel times and detours back to evacuated areas. Even though the weather conditions have improved, drivers should prepare for fallen trees, downed power lines and standing water in and around roadways. 

The latest update from Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman is that water is the water is fine and totally usable. The mayor says the water never went down throughout the storm. The sewage system is operating properly and it is okay to flush toilets. Only residents and property owners are allowed back on the island at this time, and residents must show information that shows proof of ownership. If you do not have paper work with you, you can show information from your mobile phone.

The city of Savannah says with the return of citizens to Chatham County after Hurricane Matthew, many will continue to need help. The Trade & Convention Center on Hutchinson Island will serve as the re-entry point and temporary shelter for returning residents. The Red Cross says approximately 150 volunteers are needed immediately, beginning Monday morning at 6 a.m. to assist with re-entry activities. Volunteers will be paid according to FEMA reimbursement guidelines. If you can volunteer, please contact CEMA first at (912) 201-4500, volunteermatthew@chathamcounty.org. Also, click here for more info.

Parking services at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport have reopened for those who utilized parking facilities at the airport during Hurricane Matthew. Airline service will resume Monday, Oct. 10. It is best to contact the airlines directly for flight information, but you can also track flights by clicking here.

First Alert Weather Forecast for Monday, Oct. 10: Following Hurricane Matthew, we're in the midst of the best stretch of weather since April. Under a mostly clear sky, morning temperatures will dip into the 50s away from the immediate coast Monday before 8 a.m. Temps will re-bound into the 60s by noon, topping-out in the upper 60s to mid-70s Monday afternoon. Even better, the humidity will remain quite low and a few folks may stay in the 60s Monday. Mostly clear, mild and dry weather is forecast through the rest of the work-week. Our next chance of rain, which is currently slight, enters the forecast this weekend ahead of our next cold front.

Here's a slideshow of photos submitted by WTOC viewers of the damage Hurricane Matthew caused around our region:

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