Officials: Ga. spared the worst of Hurricane Matthew's $4 billion in damage

Surveying the damage after Matthew

Hurricane Matthew is finally dying out but the aftermath of the massive storm is significant.

Researchers estimate Hurricane Matthew caused $4 billion in wind and rain damage alone - and that doesn't even include flooding damages at this point.

But elected leaders in Georgia said, Sunday, that considering what the storm could have done, the state's coastline got lucky.

"We dodged a major bullet," Senator David Perdue said. "Mother Nature let that storm lay offshore just a little bit."

Senator Perdue took a helicopter tour of the hardest hit areas in Georgia.

"We looked at the damage and it's minimal," he said. "But if it happened to you, it's major."

Authorities said three people in Georgia died in the storm but Senator Johnny Isakson credits the mandatory evacuations with saving lives in the state.

"Georgians deserve a lot of credit," he said. "1.4 million Georgians evacuated on time and there was minimal loss of life."

While most areas are back to normal, the barrier islands are still under mandatory evacuation.

"Be patient," Governor Nathan Deal said. "Be patient."

The governor faced criticism for a miscommunication that kept people in Brunswick out of their homes for hours after they were told they could return. But he said that was a small problem compared to everything that could have gone wrong.

"To begin to nitpick and Monday Morning quarterback does not serve any of us very well," he said. "And I would hope we would not see too much of that."

The federal government approved an aid package for 30 counties in Georgia and Deal said the state is lucky they don't need more.

"We did not suffer the damage that could have been our fate," he said.

The Department of Transportation has already inspected 180 bridges impacted by the storm and found them to be safe.

The evaluations will continue throughout the coming weeks.

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(© 2016 WXIA)


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