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Gainesville escaped most weather problems, and warmer weather is coming

POSTED: March 2, 2009 11:26 p.m.

Despite receiving more than 8 inches worth of precipitation — both rain and snow — over the weekend, there were no major problems reported Monday in Gainesville.

According to Georgia Power representatives, while there were originally a few reports of power outages in Hall County on Sunday, those issues had been resolved by Monday afternoon.

"We had power outages scattered throughout the state," said Konswello Monroe, a Georgia Power spokesperson.

"But (Monday) we got the number of outages down and all of those are in Athens."

The storm knocked out power for hundreds of thousands across the South in addition to the 50,000 in Georgia. At the height of the storm, more than 120,000 customers were without power in Virginia; more than 100,000 in North Carolina; and about 75,000 in South Carolina.

While much of Northeast Georgia received at least some scattered snowfall on Sunday, around 5 inches accumulated in South Hall County with only trace amounts in North Hall, National Weather Service forecasters report.

In addition to snow, Hall County also received a little more than 3 inches of rain.

As of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, the extra moisture helped Lake Lanier reach 1,057.72 above sea level; full pool is 1,070 feet above sea level. The current lake level is about a foot higher than it was a month ago, and about 4 feet higher than two months ago.

Although Sunday’s snowfall took some people by surprise, it didn’t stop Hall County schools from being open. The only local schools to close were Lakeview Academy and Gainesville State College. The Gainesville Park and Recreation department canceled rookie league spring training camps for the day, but are expected to resume training today.

Gainesville State is opening at 12:30 p.m. today on both the Oakwood and Oconee campuses, as conditions still remain unsafe at the Oconee campus.

Hall County residents shouldn’t look for anymore snow this week as weather service forecasters are predicting that temperatures should reach 63 degrees by Friday afternoon.

On Sunday, North Georgia was spared the brunt of a storm that dumped as much as a foot of snow in western North Carolina and across Virginia and 10 inches in South Carolina. Tennessee, which had nearly a foot of snow in some places, hadn’t seen that much snowfall since a storm brought up to 22 inches to the region in March 1968.

The heavy snow affected travel across the region by planes, trains and automobiles.

Scores of flights, especially those to northern destinations, were delayed at airports around the region as snow continued falling in the Northeast.

Near the Carolinas’ border, North Carolina rescuers went car-by-car late Sunday and early Monday to check on motorists stranded along Interstate 85 when a crash backed up the highway. The same interstate also was partly blocked by a different wreck in South Carolina.

Amtrak said 140 passengers aboard a train were stuck on the tracks Sunday night in Virginia between Richmond and Williamsburg, blocked by fallen trees and locomotive problems. The train eventually made its destination, some 16« hours late.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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