Hurricane Michael has come and gone but Guilford County’s recovery is far from over.
In a report to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners at the board’s Thursday, Oct. 18 meeting, County Manager Marty Lawing said the preliminary costs associated with the storm for the county, cities and nonprofits was estimated to be about $1.5 million.
In Guilford County, a total of 321 homes were damaged, with seven destroyed, 88 being classified as having major damage, 121 seeing minor damage and the rest listed as “affected.”
Lawing also spoke on the power outage that became a big topic of discussion among county citizens.
“At the peak of the storm, the total peak outages to Guilford County were around 130,000 homes,” he said, adding that all power had been restored by Wednesday morning, Oct. 17.
The State of Emergency that Guilford County declared on Thursday, Oct. 11 ended on Tuesday, Oct. 16. According to Lawing, Guilford County opened a shelter for those who needed it at the time it made that declaration and the shelter had an average of 22 people per night.
Lawing said county emergency management officials are now working with the state to determine the needed level of assistance. He said the Guilford County Social Services Division has been taking applications for replacement food for those on food stamps who lost food due to power outage. In the first four days of applications, the county received about 150.
Commissioner Alan Perdue, who was the director of Guilford County Emergency Services before retiring and becoming a commissioner, said at the Oct. 18 meeting that he wanted to extend sincere appreciation for a remarkable job by emergency workers and power crews. Perdue and other commissioners didn’t mention Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, but they did seem to be weighing in on a big controversy over a tweet the mayor sent in which she called out Duke Energy for its seemingly slow response restoring power to the community.
Perdue said of the power grid and other damaged infrastructure: “Having spent a large amount of time in public safety, it’s very difficult to put the resources together to build that back. It didn’t just hit Guilford County, it hit multiple states, so you have to put that in context.”
Commissioner Jeff Phillips also praised Duke Energy crews.
“I think Duke Energy got a bit of a bad rap early,” Phillips said. “I think they did a remarkable job.”
He added that the critique for a supposedly slow response were “overstated.”
“It took them a little bit to assess the damage because of the enormity, and then, once they hit the ground, they hit the ground running,” Phillips said.
He also said, “Neighbors all across the county were pitching in at the time of need,” and he said that is always very encouraging to see.