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Roads mostly clear, but ice still possible

Many area school systems closed due to weather

POSTED: January 6, 2014 6:20 a.m.

Many area schools are closed or delayed today, but as of this morning, the worst road conditions are isolated to Northwest Georgia except one spot on Ga.53.

Icing was reported at Ga. 53/Mundy Mill Road at Ga. 53/McEver Road, according to DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope. The area has been treated and is passable.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reported that precipitation has largely ended throughout the state.

Snow is possible this morning, though, with a 20 percent chance forecasted for Hall County by the National Weather Service. And whatever icy conditions are present are likely to stay, with highs of just 30 today and wind chill readings around zero, according to the National Weather Service.

DOT crews will continue to scout for and treat problem areas throughout the day.

Gainesville City Schools is closed to students today because of the cold air and potential for ice on roadways. Hall County schools aren't scheduled to return from the winter break until Tuesday; a decision will be made today whether to delay that return.

Lanier Technical College is closed today and Tuesday. Brenau University and University of North Georgia meanwhile have only delayed classes. Brenau will open two hours late, and UNG will open at 11 a.m., with classes starting at noon.

Many school systems in the mountain counties will be closed today.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until noon and a wind chill advisory is in effect from noon until 1 p.m. Tuesday. Rain changing to snow, with some brief sleet is possible.

The winter weather advisory warns that frostbite and hypothermia are possible if proper precautions are not taken. Temperatures are forecasted to fall into single digits overnight Tuesday with a wind chill of as low as 13 below zero.

Temperatures aren’t expected to climb above freezing until Wednesday.

“Temperatures are definitely going to be the worst part,” Alex Gibbs, an NWS meteorologist from the Peachtree City office, said Saturday. “That’s the biggest concern as far as safety.”

Residents are advised to make sure pets have warm shelter and plenty of water. Gibbs also advises everyone to stay off lakes, ponds and rivers as hypothermia and frostbite could set in quickly for anyone who falls in.

Gainesville Fire Chief Jerome Yarbrough said he wants people to be careful when heating their homes.

He advises keeping space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that’s combustible; if burning wood, make sure to have screens in place and don’t leave the wood fire unattended; and don’t use the oven as source of heat.

“This is a cautionary time for us,” Yarbrough said about the year’s first significant freeze, “because this is our high-fire season, and we still have a long way to go.

“Keep the kids away from all heating sources during this time. ... Stay home, be warm and be safe.”

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said the company is keeping an eye out should ice form on power lines and cause outages.

“Freezing rain is a problem because it can freeze on power lines and trees,” he said. “We’ll be ready for it if any issues come up.

“Our workers are always aware that things can change in a moment’s notice. If it’s worse (than expected), we can activate other crews from different parts of the state to help.”

Kraft said customers can keep track of power outages and sign up for mobile and email alerts on the company’s website.

Jackson EMC spokeswoman Bonnie Jones said the company is prepared to service its customers as well.

“We have the same preparations as always,” she said. “The trucks are ready to roll, and everyone is on call as needed.

 



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