Harris County says there’s still work that needs to be done a year after the March 3rd storms

The Storm: One Year Later
Photo courtesy of Robert Coppedge

One year after the March 3rd storms ripped through parts of Alabama and Georgia, Harris County residents say things are still not back to normal. Several Harris County residents say March 3rd, 2019 is a day they hope they never have to relive. 

Ellerslie Volunteer Fire Chief Skip Wyatt says right after the storm hit, his team went to work. 

“It was just trees as far as you can see as many as you can count laid over. Power lines, cable lines, just everything,” Wyatt said.

Photo courtesy of Lori Griswell

Chief Wyatt says he opened up the fire department as a place for folks in the community to receive a hot meal and any other resources while his team along with other officials worked for a straight week.

Most of the debris collected was taken to Ellerslie Park which was scheduled to open a few weeks after the storm. County manager Randy Dowling says it cost the county $125,000 to transport all of that debris, and the work still isn’t over. 

“Now we are actually cleaning up Ellerslie Park of all the downed trees and partially downed trees. We had probably over I would probably say at least 10,000 trees that were down in that park. That’s a monumental task to clean up,” Dowling said.

Photo courtesy of Lori Griswell

For other Harris County residents they say even a year later things are still not back to normal for them as well. Jerry Griswell says he spends most weekends chopping up trees with his daughter.

“I probably have 100 million sticks in my yard. That’s probably the worst thing. Even though I’ve had somebody come in here and clean the big stuff up we still have the small stuff to deal with,” Griswell said.

Richard Yancey says it costs around 50,000 for him to make repairs to his home and business.

“We still waiting on the sign. We had to get approval for Harris county to improvise again. We’re not struggling to get it but we’re trying to find the money to get our sign back up,” Yancey said.

Residents say although this was a set back for them the one positive thing they can remember is how business owners opened their doors.

“We were open all day that day doing chain saws. Sharpening, sharpening chains as much as we could,” Yancey said.

They will also remember how folks rallied together.

“Knowing that I have people around who I don’t talk to everyday but still care about me nonetheless is really heartwarming,” Griswell said.

County manager Dowling says since the storm, the county has purchased more heavy equipment and improved their communication with other partners throughout Georgia. He also says they hope to open Ellerslie Park very soon.

 

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