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No significant thawing expected until later Thursday
Schools, colleges closed for a second day
Normally congested during the evening rush hour, downtown Cumming was instead deserted Wednesday as people heeded authorities' advice to stay home and off the roads. Officials expected roads to refreeze overnight. - photo by Kevin Atwill

Trouble spots

Forsyth County roads that were still experiencing ice issues, or in some cases were closed, as of Wednesday afternoon included:

* Brannon Road between Old Atlanta Road and Ronald Reagan Boulevard

* Some parts of Ronald Reagan Boulevard between Buford Highway (Hwy. 20) and Peachtree Parkway

* McGinnis Ferry Road from Peachtree Parkway over to Alpharetta

* Stretches of Windermere Parkway

* Drew Campground Road

* Friendship Circle

* Parts of Kelly Mill Road


Source: Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office

FORSYTH COUNTY — With temperatures in Forsyth expected to stay below the freezing mark Wednesday, authorities were being blunt: Road conditions were unlikely to improve significantly until Thursday afternoon.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office stayed busy handling a seemingly endless stream of wrecks and fender-benders.

Authorities noted that some roads, particularly Ga. 400 and major state routes, had improved somewhat as the afternoon sun melted a stubborn layer of ice.

But they cautioned that subfreezing temperatures overnight would led to a repeat of Wednesday morning, when many would-be commuters couldn’t get out of their driveways or neighborhoods.

Traffic around the normally bustling retail areas of Cumming — including Tri-County Plaza, Lanier Crossing, Lanier Village and Market Place Boulevard — was nearly nonexistent.

Many businesses and fast-food eateries were not open. Those that were, including Publix in Tri-County Plaza, closed early to allow their employees to return home safely.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said his department had managed to answer all of the calls two which it had been dispatched, but that some of the roads they encountered were dangerous.

“While the main roads are passable, many neighborhood streets are still covered with a thick layer of ice, particularly in shaded areas” he said. 

According to Shivers, the fire department fielded 52 calls between noon Tuesday and midafternoon Wednesday. Fifteen of those were medical related, while 22 involved crashes and four were to investigate smoke.

One call had been for a vehicle fire on Spot Road and the rest were for a variety of alarms and routine situations. 

All of the fire stations in the county are equipped with some type of four-wheel drive vehicle, explained Shivers, who added that those were being used to respond to non-fire-related calls whenever possible. 

“To minimize our risk and to work as safely as possible, we’re heeding our own advice and keeping our large equipment off the roads when we can,” he said.

Shivers went on to note that the call volume in Forsyth’s emergency operations center, which was activated Tuesday, had returned to normal levels, and that most people seem to be heeding officials’ advice to stay home.  

Fire officials fully expected the roads to refreeze overnight and not thaw out until sometime Thursday. 

“We’re encouraging everyone to stay home … and not to venture out … until ice on the roads has thawed,” he said. 

Forsyth County government offices, including the courthouse, will open at 10:00 A.M.

The Forsyth County school system announced early Wednesday afternoon that there would be no school or extracurricular activities and athletics Thursday. See related story here.

Students also were out Wednesday and were released early Tuesday before the winter storm arrived.

The University of North Georgia announced that its campuses in Cumming, Dahlonega and Gainesville will remain closed on
Thursday, and the Oconee campus will open at 11 A.M.  This is a change from their previous plan which would have opened all campus locations late Thursday morning. 

Lanier Technical College has also called off classes for today.