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Icy conditions persist
Weather should warm by Friday
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Forsyth County News


Citing the continued icy conditions, public safety officials are cautioning residents to stay off roads across Forsyth County unless driving is absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, many folks learned that lesson the hard way as they ventured out Wednesday onto what they thought would be clearer roads.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Tim House said traffic was backed up in spots along Ga. 400, particularly at the Exit 13 on-ramps. Vehicles were moving, just not very fast.

"The call volume is dramatically increased from the last 48 hours," House said.

While that may have been the case on the roads, Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said the week had been relatively quiet for the department, other than a few calls for medical emergencies and wrecks.

He said the county seemed to have been spared some of the misery that was plaguing other parts of the metro Atlanta region.

"I really think most people are staying home and staying off the roads, which is a good thing because it gives crews time to treat the roads," Shivers said.

But as the weather warms -- albeit slightly -- and crews have had more time to work on the roads, more people are venturing out.

House said there were no major traffic accidents or injuries, but deputies had been giving courtesy rides to stranded motorists, as well as handling abandoned vehicles and street obstructions.

The agency had also received calls about people driving all-terrain vehicles through yards and on the roads.

"The longer this goes on, then the call volume will probably continue to increase," House said. "If the weather [forecast] predicted comes in, it could be more hazardous and perilous."

The National Weather Service forecast calls for continued frigid conditions until at least Friday, when the high temperature may crack freezing.

Shivers said the fire department has been helping wherever needed.

Tuesday, firefighters came to the aid of a woman who had run out of kerosene, which she uses to heat her home.

"She had no other alternatives, nobody else to assist her," Shivers said.

He said firefighters went to the woman's home, off Turner Road. They collected money she'd set aside for buying kerosene and went out and got it for her.

"This is another example of those cases where the fire department is an all-services department and some of the issues that people have," he said. "They have no one else to assist them and that's where we come in."

Not only has the lingering wintry weather kept people from going to work and school, but it has disrupted mail delivery.

Anne Berger, postmaster for the U.S. Post Office in Cumming, said she has received several calls from residents wondering when they'll get their mail.

"I have the best employees in the Atlanta district," Berger said. "We have to play it hour by hour so we're hoping to be out there [Wednesday]. We'll have to see."

Berger said while main roads may have been passable, many neighborhood roads had not been completely cleared Tuesday.

"So it's very dangerous for the carriers to drive up to the mailboxes because the vehicles that are on the roads are going down the middle," Berger said. "As long as it's safe for them to go out, we'll make every attempt."

While mail carriers were unable to venture out, Berger said the weather hadn't kept a steady flow of people from coming into the post office on Tribble Gap Road, which has been open.

Jodi Gardner, Forsyth County government spokeswoman, said crews are using three salt spreaders, two snowplows and three motor graders to clear local roads.

"Roads and bridges crews are continuing to operate at full capacity," she said, adding that they're working in rotating, 12-hour shifts.

"They're continuing to address the main thoroughfares, the bridges and critical county facilities," Gardner said.

Crews started plowing secondary roads Tuesday.

County offices have been closed since Monday and the county commission cancelled its regularly scheduled work session Tuesday.

Gardner said the session has not been rescheduled. The commission may decide to just roll the agenda items over to the next scheduled work session.

County parks and recreation activities were cancelled and the parks and recreation board postponed its meeting, which was scheduled for Tuesday night. Senior services for Wednesday were also cancelled.

Georgia Department of Transportation Spokesman Rick Parham said state roads in the county were passable Tuesday, but still cautioned motorists to drive carefully.

"We"re still looking at ice for another day or two for sure," said Parham, adding that crews will continue working around the clock to put out salt and stones on roads in an effort to keep them clear.

He said drivers should be especially careful on bridges and coming on and off of ramps.

In a bit of good news, utlitily companies had reported no power outages out of the ordinary.

"We really dodged a bullet. It could have been bad," said Blake House, spokesman for Sawnee EMC.

House said officials weren't too concerned with ice weighing down lines or trees since most of the moisture had reached the ground.

Georgia Power had 25 outages in the metro area, but none in Forsyth County.

Spokeswoman Christy Ihrig said the company had few concerns in looking forward at the rest of the cold week.

"Everything is subject to change, but right now, we don't have any cautionary tales," Ihrig said.