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Power, road crews standing by as storm hits
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Snow plows and power crews could be out in force this week.

With a potentially dangerous mix of snow and ice in the outlook, utilities and state and local road crews braced Tuesday for even rougher conditions to come, even as they worked the first blast of a winter storm passing through the state.

“We’ve been working several days to make sure we’re prepared,” said Carol Boatright, Georgia Power spokeswoman.

Just 200 Georgia Power outages were reported throughout the state Tuesday, but that number could grow tremendously over the next day or so.

“We’ve asked for and received aid from other utilities, and we’re staging them where we think most of the problems will be,” Boatright said.

On Tuesday, it looked as if customers in East Georgia could be hit the hardest.

“But it’s a shifting target,” Boatright said.

Jackson Electric Membership Corp. also was preparing for the worst.

“We’ll be making sure our trucks are fully stocked, fueled and ready to roll,” said Jim Smith, vice president of engineering and operations. “All of our line crews and right-of-way crews will be on call and dispatched to any outages that may occur.

“During a major outage, our first priority is restoring the lines that will return service to the largest number of customers with each repair. This means our workers usually try to restore a main line before restoring power to individual customers.”

Road crews were busy Tuesday as snow — heavy at times — poured throughout the region, particularly in the North Georgia mountains.

Above-freezing temperatures kept Hall area roads mostly slushy, but there were some slippery spots. At one point, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office closed northbound lanes on Interstate 985 at Exit 16 in Oakwood because of wreck and icing.

Gainesville and Hall County public works crews also hit trouble spots, including parts of North Hall, Old Flowery Branch Road, Springdale Road and Beverly Drive.

Jimmy Hightower, Hall’s roads maintenance director, said the county has “equipment ready” if conditions get worse.

“We are expecting some downed trees with wind gusts mixed in with the snow,” he said.