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Although weather forecasters as early as this morning were saying that Forsyth County would likely miss the worst of the approaching storm, as darkness fell, and trees began to fall, it quickly became apparent that the storm was going to hit Forsyth.
Deputy Robin Regan said the sheriff’s office never stopped preparing for the storm, even as forecasters began to downgrade their predictions. “We never stopped preparing, and we continued to plan for this, just to be safe,” said Regan. He explained that extra deputies were asked to stay available so they were able to hit the roads quickly once the magnitude of the ice storm became apparent.
As of 1:00 a.m., Sawnee EMC's automated outage map showed over twenty four thousand customers in Forsyth without power, which is about thirty percent of their customer base in the county. The map also showed sixty eight percent of their customers in the dark in Dawson County, over half of their Hall County customers without power, and ninety seven percent of their customers in Lumpkin County also without electricty.
Division Chief Jason Shivers said the fire department has kept up with the calls that have come in, and that from what he's seen, residents have heeded officials’ calls to stay home. “About all I’m seeing on the roads tonight are emergency vehicles, which is what we were hoping for,” said Shivers.
Officials say their next concern is the fact that temperatures are expected to drop as the night goes on, and the weather service is calling for a secondary front to come through later tonight with winds as high as 30 miles per hour.” “We're hoping it moves through without causing much more damage, but, depending on the ice on the trees, it could be even worse later tonight,” Shivers said.
Both Shivers and Regan urged residents to monitor weather and road conditions before venturing out in the morning “We have so many trees down now that there is no way they will all be cleaned up by morning, so even if the ice is gone, there will still be some roads that will be impassible Tuesday morning”, said Shivers.