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Warmer temps should clear leftover ice
DOT crews hope to catch a break after a long week of snow duty
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Yohanna Gonzalez carefully walks across the icy snow Friday to get to her business, Café N’ Crêpes, in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

Coming Sunday

The Times takes a look at the long-term effects of the snowstorm including how it hurt local businesses, how schools will make up the days and how cleanup efforts hurt government budgets.

Following a week of snowfall and bitter cold nights, Hall County will finally see temperatures climb above freezing this weekend.

Forecasters call for sunny skies and a high of 42 degrees today. Sunday looks to be a little warmer with a high of 46, with rain due in Monday.

“It’s finally warming up,” Steve Nelson, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Peachtree City said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reported a good day of melting Friday and hopes to reduce the hours for its public works staff this weekend.

Crews have worked day and night since Sunday, salting and plowing roads in the wake of a storm that left up to 8 inches of snow in some areas of North Georgia.

“All the primary roads are in pretty good shape and right now we’re going into subdivisions and areas you can’t get to when you start out on one of these projects,” Jimmy Hightower, Hall County’s road maintenance supervisor said.

DOT spokesman Mark McKinnon said shady spots on some roads are still icy and he urges drivers to remain alert.

“People should drive slowly and leave plenty of space between them and vehicles around them,” McKinnon said.

County crews were scraping many of the secondary roads Friday as the afternoon sun softened the snow. They shifted to on-call duty that night.

“We hope to get it all cleared by the end of the shift today,” Hightower said Friday.

Though most of the snow is likely to melt this weekend, a massive meltdown isn’t likely, forecasters said. Neither is roadway flooding.

“The amount of water contained in snow and ice is small,” Nelson said, adding that he expects less than an inch of water after the melt. “And when it’s not dramatically warm after snow, it melts very slowly.”

Nelson reports temperatures will continue to stay on the warmer side next week, with a high of 46 Monday and a chance of rain. The average weekly high will be above 50 degrees and the average lows are in the 30s.

The melting snow will give crews a chance to rest, as DOT crews worked in 12-hour shifts since Sunday.

“They’re all very tired. It’s been a long week and they’re looking forward to some time off,” McKinnon said.

He adds that the storm was a major undertaking for the state DOT, and staff will look at making changes in the future.

“We’ll step back after this event and see how we did and how we can improve for the next one,” McKinnon said. “We always have room.”

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