Snowfall brings ice to roads

CONYERS -- Rockdale and Newton County residents woke up Saturday morning with more snow than most others in metro Atlanta, and though the scene offered a rare winter landscape, authorities warned of icy roads today.

The National Weather Service office in Peachtree City reported Conyers and surrounding areas received anywhere from 4 to 6 inches from a winter storm that pushed through the area Friday night.

Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington said roads were passable and urged motorists to use caution. Deputies worked most of the weather-related accidents Friday night. The biggest delay was on Ga. Highway 138 North, near the Newton County line, where a tractor-trailer rig stalled on hill and blocked traffic Saturday.

Wigington added that he and other public safety officials in the county determined that the weather conditions did not warrant opening the county's Emergency Management office since motor vehicle traffic was generating almost all the calls.

"All in all, it has been a lot better than we thought," he said.

"County crews have been out sanding and salting down intersections and we've been able to get out respond to calls."

Wigington said the biggest concern was snow on the roads turning to ice overnight when temperatures plunged back down into the 20s.

"If you don't have to be out, don't go out," he said. "We will be dealing with a lot of ice on the roads (today)."

Rockdale County released a bulletin warning residents of icy road conditions across the county. The Parker Road bridge, Eastview Road and the intersection of Miller Bottom Road and Ga. 138 were reported closed with traffic being rerouted.

Rockdale County spokesperson Holly Lafontaine said work crews would be out throughout the weekend with sand and salt for roads. Residents can report icy roads or downed trees in the roadway by calling 770-483-4200.

The Newton County Sheriff's Office also reported no significant incidents aside from "a lot of traffic calls you would expect with this weather," said NCSO Lt. Mark Mitchell. He urged motorists to use caution traveling across the county.

Power outages were sporadic and short in the area. Snapping Shoals EMC had 1,500 outages reported early Saturday across its eight-county service area, including Rockdale and Newton counties. By the afternoon, service had been restored to 871 customers, according to the Snapping Shoals dispatcher.

Georgia Power reported 4,700 customers without power statewide as of 5:30 a.m. Saturday, with the majority of the outages in the Augusta area. Power to all customers was expected to be restored by Saturday evening.

The forecast for today calls for highs in the low 40s that will melt most of the remaining snow followed by temperatures in the low 30s tonight. A second round of snow is predicted for Monday but not near the same amount received Friday.