Good evening, everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.
Leah Johnson has the evening off.
We want to get right to weather damage tonight... Thousands across Central Georgia still without power.
That includes Tri County EMC reporting about 35 hundred power outages scattered across Baldwin, Jones, and Putnam Counties.
Flint Energies reports around 700 power outages.
We have the late breaking numbers from Georgia Power right now.
23-thousand 300 without power in central georgia.
11-thousand of those are in Macon.
11-thousand 200 in Milledgeville.
600 in Hawkinsville.
We also know from all our local E-M-A directors and law enforcement agencies... Crews have been working through the night, to restore power to trouble spots, including much of North Bibb County...while police and deputies provide support and help direct traffic as needed.
While crews continue to work on those situations across the coverage area...let's check in on current conditions right now... with Chief Meteorologist Ben Jones. Ben?
Tonight as we've mentioned...many of the damage reports are downed trees.
We have Donald Druitt with Bibb Emergency Management on the phone this evening.
Donald-- in which areas are you seeing the greatest damage?
Ben thanks Donald-- back to Frank on dual box for pictures
Tonight... We also have some photos our viewers have shared with us...
This is hail... In Eatonton... From viewer Kristin Reed...
This picture from Kim Schel gives you a broader view.
That looks like snow...but it's really hail on the ground.
Same thing in Putnam County... That's Pea Ridge Road... From our viewer Wesley Ransom.
We have another picture for you... From viewer Jackie Hotchkiss...
this is the press box at FPD... Or was...until high winds knocked it over tonight.
Lots more pictures like this one...in our severe weather slide show at 13WMAZ-dot-com.
Throughout the night we received several reports of gusting winds and fallen trees.
Winds in the Macon area reached estimated speeds between 70 and 80 miles per hour.
That combined with the lightning brought down a tree over 100 years old off Hardeman Avenue.
<the house is 113 years old and this tree has been here as long as the house has. It crashed into my roof.>
Connie Graham was sitting in her home on English Avenue when she heard a loud crash.
A large sugarberry tree fell from the back yard to the front yard.. Bringing down parts of the roof and sending a branch through the front porch.
No one was hurt. a neighbor was just getting home when it happened.
<gayle-anne hendrick: "I drove in and left a couple things in my car and I just wanted to get in the house real quick and as soon as I get inside I hear the rain tumbling down and I thought there was a leak in the house or something and then all of the sudden I hear this loud crash boom boom boom boom boom. My first thought was holy cow my car!">
Fortunately, her car and everyone next door was fine.
And Ben, we'll check back in with you in just a few minutes...for more on current conditions as we head through the rest of the night.
In other news now...The Macon appropriations committee asked the city to budget for around one-hundred-and-40 tasers... For Macon police officers.
The finance department told council members... That's enough to cover all of those officers who respond to calls.
Council already approved the purchase of 60 tasers for sergeants.
The police department says each taser... And training... Will cost 16-hundred dollars per officer.
Council members want the city to research different funding options... Like SPLOST... Or lease accounts.
They say the purchase will help officers now... And help with the transition to the consolidated force... Since Bibb Sheriff's Deputies already have them.
<when our police officers go over to the sheriff's office they will eventually get them so it's a matter of when, not if. Since this is needed equipment and it's a public safety issue, it seems like it's something that's a matter of some urgence.>
Also this afternoon... Council gave the 'ok' to search for design and construction teams to begin the first phases of the Second Street Corridor Project.
That includes redeveloping Little Richard Penniman Boulevard... And a block of Second Street... In between Cherry and Poplar Streets.
Funding will come from the 8 million already set aside in SPLOST money.
Both the tasers and the design proposals will go before full council for a vote tomorrow night.
Sir Elton John will perform this Wednesday in Macon as planned.
That's after he canceled a performance in Alabama last Friday for medical reasons.
Today... His publicist responded to phone calls from 13WMAZ.
She told us the singer will proceed with his concert as scheduled.
She noted that, Sir Elton held a concert Saturday night in Memphis as planned.
His website shows a few tickets for the 8'o'clock concert at the Macon Centerplex are still available.
The Atlanta City Council has voted to approve a plan to pay for the new Falcon's Stadium.
City Council today voted 11-4 to approve using city hotel-motel tax revenue to pay the $200 million public contribution for the proposed $1 billion, retractable roof stadium.
Georgia World Congress Center Authority officials voted Friday to move forward with a plan to build the downtown Atlanta stadium.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Falcons owner Arthur Blank this month agreed to financing terms of the project, which would replace the 21-year-old Georgia Dome.
It is one of the most popular events in all of sports.
The N-C double-A basketball tournament...known as the Big Dance...begins this week.
It will take place right here in Atlanta...with the final four teams playing in the Georgia Dome.
Jerry Carnes tells us what it brings to Atlanta...and to those folks who are not sports fans.
CREWS ARE BUSY HERE TRANSFORMING THE GEORGIA DOME FROM THE HOME OF THE FALCONS...TO THE HOME OF THE BIG DANCE...THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING HERE THEY'VE NEVER DONE BEFORE...MORE ON THAT IN A MINUTE...FIRST LET'S LOOK AT WHAT THIS MEANS TO THE CITY OF ATLANTA.
THREE COLLEGE BASKETBALL GAMES WILL DRAW APPROXIMATELY ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND VISITORS TO THE CITY OF ATLANTA...THOSE VISITORS ARE EXPECTED TO POUR APPROXIMATELY 70-MILLION DOLLARS INTO THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
THERE IS AN ECONOMIC DOWNSIDE...MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY WILL SPEND A LOT OF ENERGY AND TIME ON THEIR BRACKETS...TRYING TO PREDICT THE WINNERS OF EACH AND EVERY GAME LEADING UP TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP HERE IN ATLANTA.
THE CONSULTING FIRM CHALLENGER...GRAY...AND CHRISTMAS ESTIMATES THE COUNTRY WILL EXPERIENCE $1.8 BILLION DOLLARS IN LOST PRODUCTIVITY FROM WORKERS WHO ARE FOCUSED ON THEIR BRACKETS...AND WATCHING THE GAMES ON TELEVISION.
SO...YOU'RE NOT INTERESTED IN BASKETBALL...THE FINAL FOUR WILL ALSO BRING MUSIC TO YOUR EARS...HOW ABOUT THREE DAYS OF FREE CONCERTS HERE IN CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK...
AMONG THE ARTISTS WHO WILL PLAY...STING...ATLANTA'S OWN LUDICRIS...AND THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND.
BACK TO THE DOME...TRADITIONALLY HALF OF THE DOME IS CURTAINED OFF FOR BASKETBALL GAMES...LEAVING A LOT OF SEATS UNUSED...NOT THIS TIME...
FOR THIS TOURNAMENT...THE COURT WILL GO SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR...AT THE 50 YARD LINE IF YOURE A FOOTBALL FAN...IT WILL INCREASE THE SEATING CAPACITY...FROM 52-THOUSAND FOR A SINGLE GAME...TO 74,000.
OF COURSE...THAT MEANS MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE...YOU CAN FIND THEM BY GOING TO NCAA.COM...HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL FIND...A TICKET UP HERE IN THE UPPER DECK IS RIGHT NOW GOING FOR $200...
IF YOU'VE GOT MONEY TO BURN...THERE ARE SEATS IN ONE OF THE DOME SEATS...GOING FOR AS MUCH AS $36-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
LET THE BIG DANCE BEGIN
AT THE GEORGIA DOME JERRY CARNES 11ALIVE NEWS >
The NCAA Championship game is three weeks from tonight - April 8 - inside the Georgia Dome..
In a digital age of smart phones and tablets... it's easy to forget about the magic of reading a good book.
Volunteers in Macon are using the power of the printed page ...to serve libraries in central georgia
Friends of the Library hosts its annual old book sale later this week at the coliseum.
Plenty of volunteers will be on hand this week to unpack mystery... romance...and history novels...in addition to the dozens of other genres available to customers and the proceeds go to a good cause..
<with budgets as tight as they are, the library needs additional support to provide the services they do to the community. this morning we're setting up for the 45th annual old book sale we've brought in over 100,000 books in 75 categories. There's something for everyone.>
This year...the sale starts thursday...march 21...and will run through sunday...the 24th.
Thank you for joining us... First Mornin' comes your way at 5 a.m.
The news is always on at 13WMAZ dot com.
Have a safe night everyone.