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AFTERNOON UPDATE: Conditions improving, but ice remains in spots
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Road crews have cleared main thoroughfares, or at least provided one traveling lane. Many secondary and subdivision streets remain a mess, however, making travel -- even walking steadily -- difficult to dangerous.

South Hall is especially treacherous because that area received more ice than snow during the storm.

"Many of our neighborhood streets haven't been treated," Catiel Felts, spokeswoman for the city of Gainesville, said. "We're asking for everybody's patience."

She said the city is experiencing equipment failures from running constantly since the storm hit overnight Sunday.

Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation's Gainesville-based District 1, said DOT crews have had similar issues, as well, including damage from sliding off slippery roads and dodging abandoned cars.

"We've worked around the clock since 7 p.m. Sunday," she said. "Conditions are better now and we hope they will continue to improve in Northeast Georgia. ... We've worked diligently in extremely dangerous conditions."

She added that Northeast Georgia "is still doing better than metro (Atlanta), which is still having problems with interstates," but advised residents to check the DOT's for road conditions before heading out today.

NOON UPDATE: Hall County Public Works & Utilities reports that road conditions are still very hazardous due to ice.

Most primary roads are passable. Many secondary roads are passable, as well, but officials say drivers should proceed with caution. Subdivision roads are still icy. The south end of the county is especially treacherous because that area received more ice than snow during the storm.

Kem Smith, project coordinator for Hall County's road maintenance department, said this morning he has received about 35 calls about road conditions.

"The (road crews) are doing a great job," he said. "We've gotten the primary roads pretty clear and trying to catch up on the secondary roads."

MORNING UPDATE: Earlier this morning, icy road conditions caused delays and treacherous travel on several Gainesville roads.

Thompson Bridge Road was backed up from Linwood Drive near Lakewood Baptist Church through the bridge, where several cars and trucks were having trouble getting up hills, said Col. Jeff Strickland with the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

Officers restricted travel near the bridge to one lane and Strickland advised drivers to not try to pass cars, as the second lane is heavily iced.

About 30 cars were stuck on Old Winder Highway near Chateau Elan Winery and Strickland said the department is waiting on Department of Transportation Trucks to help clear roadways there.

Also, a few semi trucks have had trouble this morning making it up hills on Candler Road, he said.

"We're advising people, don't get a false sense of security as they're traveling on a dry road, because they turn icy very quickly," he said.

Traveling may get a little easier later today as sunny skies prevail, high winds help dry roads and more people venture out to break up the ice and snow still packed on pavement.

But stay on guard, road officials say, as temperatures still are expected to remain around the freezing mark.

Area school systems are closed for the third straight day, but government operations and other operations, such as medical clinics, are opening on delayed schedules today.

Post offices should be open and mail will be delivered to more areas today after road conditions hampered efforts Monday and Tuesday.

"We expect to see operations return to near normal on Wednesday," Atlanta District Manager Kate F. Wiley said. "Icy road conditions made it difficult to transport mail to and from postal facilities and prevented many employees from reporting to work earlier in the week. "

Georgia Department of Transportation crews, working on 12-hour shifts since Sunday night, "continued working on all the interstates throughout (metro Atlanta) to clear trouble spots, scrape the roads and spread salt, gravel and ice treatment mixtures," spokeswoman Jill Goldberg said.

"As a result, all interstates in Atlanta are passable, but the very low temperatures have caused refreezing of numerous places leaving icy patches and treacherous conditions along the roadways," she added.

In Northeast Georgia, the only roads closed are Ga. 180 Spur in Towns County - the road to Brasstown Bald - and the northern third of Ga. 348 in White and Union Counties, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for he DOT's Gainesville-based District 1.

"Those will remain closed until after the threat of winter weather is over," she said.

Pope suggests that motorists wait until at least daybreak to help with visibility.

"At least one lane of state routes is open and clear for use," she added. "We want folks to continue to use that lane. (That) will help keep it clear."

Also, motorists need to watch out for icing in turn lanes and on ramps and bridges.

"Abandoned vehicles are still a hazard," Pope said. "Many are getting struck by other vehicles using the roads."

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City is calling for a slight chance of flurries before 1 p.m.

Also expect today to be extra chilly, as the high temperature will only reach 28 and wind gusts will be up to 20 mph.

Thursday should be slightly better, as the high should top the 30s. Real improvement should arrive by Friday, when the mercury is supposed to hit 42.

Sunny skies are in the forecast through Saturday. A 20 percent chance of showers is expected Sunday night.


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