Georgia man dies while trying to help clear Hurricane Idalia debris near Valdosta

Bemiss Road fallen tree
Bemiss Road fallen tree(WANF)
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 12:11 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The first Georgia death linked to Hurricane Idalia has been reported, state officials announced Thursday.

Hurricane Idalia, now a tropical storm, descended on Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas Wednesday — bringing high-speed winds, heavy downpours, tornadoes, and widespread flooding.

Just a few miles north of Valdosta, a man died from a falling tree while trying to help cut up and clear another tree off Bemiss Road, according to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. One other person was seriously injured in the incident.

On Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp called the impacts seen in Ben Hill, Clinch, and Marion Counties devastating.

About 225,000 customers were without power in Georgia Wednesday evening. Georgia Power said it continues to assess damage in affected communities and is working to restore power to customers in need.

“Our focus right now is making sure we’re getting people’s power back on, we’re making sure people that may have big trees in their living room have shelter or other places to stay,” Gov. Kemp said. “It’s going to take us a little time to get these assessments done.”

Photos: Damage from Hurricane Idalia across Georgia, Florida

No hurricane-linked deaths have been confirmed in Florida, but the Florida Highway Patrol said two people died in weather-related crashes just before Idalia made landfall.