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Snow a no-go, roads in good condition

Officials warn of black ice, road hazards

POSTED: January 18, 2013 6:50 a.m.

UPDATE at 7 a.m.: After the threat of snow and ice Thursday night into Friday morning, the Georgia Department of Transportation have dispatched crews throughout several counties in Northeast Georgia, including Forsyth, Gwinnett, Dawson, Lumpkin, Hall, Habersham, Towns, Union, Rabun and White Counties.

There has been one report of black ice on Clarks Bridge Road near County Line Road in Hall County, but no other incidents of ice have been reported according to D.O.T. Communications Officer Teri Pope.

“We do want to caution folks, especially in Hall County, that you can’t go hardly anywhere in the county without crossing a bridge. If you can slow down and wait until after daylight to when temperatures start rising to start driving, that would be ideal,” Pope said. “Stay home a bit longer and make sure to pay attention to the road.”

Pope advised that because black ice is difficult to spot, it is important to use caution and reduce your speed when travelling.

Law enforcement agencies urged caution this morning for commuters who might encounter frozen surfaces on area roads after a day of rain was followed by frigid temperatures overnight.

PREVIOUS STORY: A winter weather advisory was issued for Northeast Georgia on Thursday, and though the snow didn’t show throughout the area, what did fall could freeze and make roads dangerous before the sun comes up.

The Georgia Department of Transportation also advised motorists to “use an ounce of prevention” mindset before traveling today.

It planned to send a team to Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County at 3 a.m. to check conditions ahead of the morning commute.

If roads are considered dangerous, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said people should avoid traveling, though he noted not everyone has that luxury.

“Everybody has to weigh out that decision for themselves. It’s a matter of priorities.” Wilbanks said. “Some people are in an industry or business that is essential. While everybody’s employment is essential, obviously, there are some jobs that people can miss a day and not risk getting in a crash and missing more than just one day.”

By 10 p.m., just over an inch of precipitation had been recorded Thursday at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville, but that was all rain, and that ended about 8 p.m. As of 10:15 p.m., Lake Lanier’s water level was at 1,060.81 feet above sea level.

The most dangerous aspect of winter weather can be “black ice,” officials warned, which is neither as visible or beautiful as its fluffy white counterpart.

“Patrolmen are encouraged to keep their eyes on roadways that are notoriously difficult,” Wilbanks said. “Steep hills are one problem area. Bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze, and places around the lake — low-lying areas where cold air pools.”

Wilbanks urged people to notify dispatch when they see those problem spots.

Anyone wishing to report trouble on the roadways this morning should call Hall County dispatch at 770-536-8812, or 911 to report emergencies.

Hall County Road Maintenance personnel prepared spreader trucks and snowplows to deal with any problem areas, officials said. Hall County’s supply of snow- and ice-fighting material, including calcium chloride, or salt, is fully stocked and on hand if needed.

Maintenance crews will be monitoring roads and bridges as the temperature drops and precipitation continues, officials said. Those crews will remain on call until the threat of inclement weather subsides.



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