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Some ice, few problems

Region spared winter's wrath

POSTED: January 25, 2013 10:18 p.m.
Jim Dean/

A tractor trailer crosses Browns Bridge in northeastern Forsyth on Friday. Crews prevented ice buildup on the bridge with salt and sand.

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For the second week in a row, the threat of winter weather largely spared Forsyth County.

“We have been fortunate,” said Karleen Chalker with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Local and state public safety officials were bracing for the worst Thursday night as a winter storm warning was issued for the area.

The Forsyth County school system, which a week earlier had delayed the start of the school day by two hours in case of wintry conditions, this time canceled classes.

“With countless reports of ice on roadways, bridges and sidewalks, our decision to not hold school ensured that our 39,000 students and 4,000 staff members did not have to travel in these conditions,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, district spokeswoman.

The school closure was announced about 5:30 a.m. Friday. Despite the reports of icing, however, there were no injuries and little public safety activity resulting from poor weather conditions.

According to Chalker, two minor incidents — both involving bridges — were reported in Forsyth.

The first, a fender bender, occurred on the Dawsonville Highway (Hwy. 53) bridge in northeast Forsyth near the Hall County line, while the other was on the North Old Atlanta Road bridge that crosses Ga. 400. No one was injured in either.

The second incident was a single-vehicle crash where the driver lost control and struck a guardrail.

“Since school was cancelled [Friday], the amount of traffic may have been reduced,” Chalker said. “Also, we redirected our school resource officers to work the roads to help with any additional weather-related incidents.”

For the Forsyth County Fire Department, the day was uneventful, said Division Chief Jason Shivers.

“Today has been actually very quiet. It’s been a slow day for us,” he said. “We were certainly prepared for the worst.

“All of our briefings included the potential for up to a quarter inch of icing and … that has not materialized.”

Shivers said the department didn’t respond to any weather-related incidents.

Still, ice did form in the county. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said the bridges on Hwys. 53 and 306 were the main “trouble spots in Forsyth.”

“We spread a mixture of rock salt and stone early Friday morning to provide traction on the bridges,” Pope said. “As ice developed, crews scraped the bridges and applied more salt and stone. We battled weather all day Friday.”

Freezing temperatures and rain may have kept students out of school Friday, but the day will be made up March 29, according to system officials.

Both that day and April 26 had been designated on the district’s calendar as inclement weather days, meaning they were considered days off for students unless poor weather conditions occurred earlier.

Barring any more weather disruptions, Caracciolo said April 26 will remain a day off for students.

Caracciolo said the decision to call of school Friday was a good one.

“We have a large number of high school students that are inexperienced drivers leaving school campuses throughout the day, which was an important factor in our decision when reviewing the time frame that the hazardous conditions would be occurring.”

All after-school programs and activities/athletics were canceled Friday, however Saturday events were scheduled to proceed unless otherwise notified. Classes will resume Monday.

 

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