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SLIDESHOW: North Georgia residents have winter fun before the melt
Overnight snowfall leaves some roads icy, but residents take it in stride
About an inch of snow fell Friday in Gainesville, leaving some streets and parking lots iced over and dusting trees and shrubs. - photo by Keith Albertson

The first storm of winter left North Georgia coated with a layer of snow and ice overnight Friday into Saturday.

While some roads were iced over in mountain areas and events postponed by the weather, most residents enjoyed a Saturday of winter fun, even as sunshine melted away much of the winter wonderland by mid-afternoon.

For some, the bit of snow that accumulated overnight was nothing to worry about.

“What snow? There’s nothing on the ground,” Torrie Root said while shopping at Target with her daughter, Merrick.

The Roots are originally from Asheville, N.C., so the wintry conditions were nothing unusual to them.

“We don’t cancel everything when it gets cold there. (Merrick) was out of school two hours early yesterday,” Root said.

Rose and Breanna Locke ventured out to the Stonebridge Village Shopping Center to look for a birthday present. They also were unperturbed by the potentially icy roads or the snow.

“I think they did a good job with the roads,” Rose Locke said. “Where there was ice, the sun came out and melted the rest of it.”

The Lockes live in Flowery Branch, and Breanna attends Flowery Branch High School.

“We tucked in last night. You never know,” Rose Locke said.

For employees of Publix in Flowery Branch, Friday night’s rush was much worse for them.

“We didn’t have any carts outside left,” said Brandon Standridge, a customer service employee.

Saturday was much less stressful at the store.

“It was slow this morning, it only picked up a while ago,” Suzanne Black said.

Black, the assistant customer service manager for the store, likened it to the day after Christmas, when the store is usually empty.

Saturday’s temperatures struggled to nudge past freezing, but the clear skies brought out the sun and helped melt the snow. Another clear day is forecast with temperatures reaching the upper 40s today.

Snow and ice totals were higher north of Gainesville in the Georgia mountains, up to 8 inches in some areas. Meteorologist Carly Kovacik says Rabun County received much of the snow.

Annalysce Baker with the Georgia Department of Transportation said Saturday the majority of roads were passable in Northeast Georgia except in Rabun and other areas hit hardest.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said at least 4,200 customers were without power throughout Georgia at one point, 1,500 of those in Northeast Georgia. Since the storm began early Friday, Kraft said crews restored power to more than 66,000 customers statewide, most caused by high winds that knocked trees down and into electrical lines.

Jackson EMC experienced fewer than 100 scattered power outages as a result of the storm, most of which were located in Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson Counties, and caused by falling trees and limbs on power lines.

Winter weather forced Dawson County Chamber of Commerce officials to err on the side of caution and postpone Saturday’s planned annual gala and awards ceremony. The event wa rescheduled for 5 p.m. today at Atlanta Motorsports Park. The banquet is the chamber’s largest fundraising event.

Staff writer Hailey Van Parys, the Dawson County News and The Associated Press contributed to this story.