Update, 9:08 a.m. Feb. 9: After several multi-vehicle accidents and overnight road closures, roads are in good shape as of Sunday morning, according to Hall County emergency officials.
“Road maintenance personnel for both Hall County and municipalities are reporting good road conditions this morning,” wrote Hall County Fire Services Division Chief Zachary Brackett in a morning update. “Those agencies were able to clear and treat roadways overnight which has limited the amount of refreeze this morning.”
Several Hall County churches have canceled Sunday services as a result of the weather. Check with your church before departing.
One of the worst accidents as temperatures dipped below freezing overnight was an eight-vehicle pileup on the Friendship Road/Ga. 347 overpass above I-985. Callers told emergency responders that the bridge had iced over, and the overpass was closed at about 10:25 p.m. while cars were removed from the overpass.
Exit 20 on I-985 northbound was also shut down for a period overnight because of a six-vehicle accident.
And while road conditions are normal as of Sunday morning, Hall County will be under a flood watch from Monday through Tuesday evening as heavy rains sweep through the area.
In Hall, local areas could get as much as 4 inches of rain in the next two days.
“With extremely high streamflows and soil moistures, runoff will pose a threat for flooding in urbanized and low-lying areas. as well as streams and creeks that react quickly to high rainfall amounts, and rivers with already high streamflows,” states the National Weather Service forecast at www.weather.gov.
Update, midnight: Friendship Road reopened.
Update, 10:30 p.m. Feb. 8: Friendship Road at Interstate 985 is shut down due to an eight-vehicle accident. Reports are coming in that the bridge is iced over., Hall County Fire Services spokesman Capt. Zachary Brackett said.
Earlier Interstate 985 northbound was shut down at Exit 20 due to a six-vehicle accident. It reopened just before 10:15 p.m. after multiple law enforcement and fire personnel worked the scene.
Hall County Emergency Management is activating a call center number for this winter weather. Residents with questions and nonemergency calls for help can call 770-718-3300.
Update, 7:15 p.m. Feb. 8: Georgia Department of Transportation crews are “still on shifts into the night spreading salt and brine and plowing where needed,” Katie Strickland, GDOT District 1 communications officer, said. Authorities urge that drivers use caution and stay home Sunday morning if possible “because of the high potential for icy patches,” according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Update, 2 p.m. Feb. 8: Snowfall has finally stopped in Hall County.
The National Weather Service predicts the temperature will get up to 35 degrees before it drops again tonight.
Steve Nelson, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City office, said this drop in temperature could cause the roads to refreeze.
“It turned out a little cooler than we thought,” Nelson said. “Around 9-10 p.m. it should get below freezing.”
Update, 11:31 a.m. Feb. 8: With snow still falling and temperatures below freezing, motorists are advised to stay off the roads, Hall County Fire Services spokesman Capt. Zachary Brackett said.
“Just in the last 20 minutes, we’ve gotten I don’t know how many calls for wrecks,” he said at 11:20 a.m. “We’re working accidents right now that have people trapped and everything else.
“There are no major injuries, but people need to get off the roads.”
And the snowy conditions aren’t confined to any particular areas of Hall County.
“I’ve got (issues) from Price Road and Cool Springs Road (in North Hall) to Elizabeth Lane and Spout Springs Road (in South Hall), E.E. Butler Parkway (in Gainesville), I-985 — it’s everywhere,” Brackett said.
“If it continues to snow and we don’t get it melted and gone by sundown, we’re going to have road problems overnight,” he said.
Snow and ice has started affecting some roadways in Hall County amid the winter storm warning in effect through 7 p.m.
Georgia Department of Transportation is “fully activated with crews out on all our routes plowing or treating,” district spokeswoman Katie Strickland said.
“We advise folks to stay off the roads as the snow continues to come down, keeping the roads cold and allowing the continued accumulation.”
The National Weather Service forecast for Saturday calls for a high temperature of 39 degrees, with snow tapering off in the afternoon and rain possible after 4 p.m.
The overnight low is expected to dip to 30 degrees.
Previous story: Since 7 a.m. the Georgia Department of Transportation has been out treating state routes in Northeast Georgia with a brine solution.
Katie Strickland, GDOT District 1 communications officer, said 30-40 people have been dispatched in Hall.
“We are actively treating our bridges with salt,” Strickland said. “This is preparation for any refreeze because in the Gainesville area we are seeing the snow evaporate as soon as it hits the pavement. But, if the temperature gets low, it will stick.”
Strickland said GDOT is working to treat every bridge and overpass on Interstate 85 and Interstate 985.
She said the largest snow accumulation in Northeast Georgia is around Towns, Rabun and Union counties.
So far, bridges are most affected. Hall County’s Capt. Zack Brackett reported this list of affected roads as of just before 10:30 a.m.:
McEver Road bridge
Hubert Stephens Road bridge
Ga. Highway 52 in Clermont
Ga. Highway 129 at Lakeview
Queen City Bridge
Mount Vernon Road at Wahoo Bridge
Dawsonville Highway bridge at Gainesville Marina
Wade Orr Bridge
Old Flower Branch Road
Dawsonville Highway bridge at the Hall County line
Browns Bridge Road at Keith Bridge Road