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WINTER STORM LATEST: Road conditions improving, but officials warn of black ice Monday
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A plow clears Bradford Street in Gainesville Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. - photo by Scott Rogers

UPDATE: Road conditions have improved due to crews' work scraping and treating overnight, Emergency Management Director Casey Ramsey wrote in a statement sent 7 a.m. Monday. There were still trees across some roadways and officials expected black ice in some areas.

Georgia Power had about 2,300 without power as of 7 a.m., and Jackson EMC had fewer than 50.

Travel Monday morning may be tricky for motorists as roads refreeze into sheets of ice, emergency officials warned late Sunday, Jan. 16.

Freezing rain and snow began around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. On average, the county saw about 2 inches of snowfall overnight, Ramsey said, and snow continued to fall during the day. The slushy mixture was expected to freeze overnight Sunday.  

“Our primary focus over the next 12-18 hours is to clear roadways so that normal travel flow can begin to flow as quickly as possible,” Emergency Management Director Casey Ramsey wrote in a statement late Sunday.

Crews have been working to clear the primary roads first. Secondary roads will begin to be addressed Sunday evening and Monday, Jan. 17, Ramsey said.

“The priority tonight will be to continue clearing roads of snow and ice while always attending to additional trees that fall,” he said. “Please note, some trees are still partially blocking or completely blocking roadways and have power lines entangled.  Those issues are being addressed by power companies.”

Clarks Bridge Road at Edgewater Drive could be closed until at least 10:30 p.m. Sunday because of tree debris, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

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Multiple power poles are broken along Dixon Drive in Gainesville Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, cutting power to a large portion of the area. - photo by Scott Rogers

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GDOT district spokeswoman Melodii Peoples said, “As far as morning travel, we're still recommending that folks limit their travel. The temp will be at 32 degrees all morning tomorrow. Things will be icy.”

Peoples said some state routes had debris in them earlier Sunday, “but all have been cleared by now.”

In addition to crippling many area roads, the snow also created widespread power outages.

Hall County had just over 3,800 power customers late Sunday without power, Ramsey said.

About 2,462 Georgia Power customers in Hall County were without power as of 8 p.m. Sunday, and Jackson EMC reported about 30 of its customers in Hall County were without power. Jackson EMC restored about 15,000 outages during the day, the company said in a press release.

Earlier Sunday afternoon, “crews were faced with multiple trees and power lines falling as a result of the winds and ice accumulation,” Ramsey said. “Road department crews continued with snow and ice removal as well as clearing trees from roadways.”

Hall County Fire Rescue reported two separate incidents of trees falling on homes, though no one was injured in either case. The residences affected were at the 2300 block of Athens Highway and a home on Hidden Harbour Trail.

Otherwise, “there have been no major incidents reported throughout this winter weather event by public safety officials," Ramsey said.

Still, Ramsey said he expects emergency operations to be fully staffed overnight. A winter storm warning is in effect until midnight. 

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A Lumpkin County ambulance, sirens wailing, drives along Green Street Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County emergency management is expected to provide another update at 7 a.m. Monday.

Staff writer Conner Evans contributed to this report.

Snow blankets the Gainesville square early Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. - photo by Conner Evans