Ice Storm 2011 stops Fayette cold


UPDATED 6:33 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 — Despite major and secondary roads being mostly clear and ice-free Wednesday afternoon, the Fayette County School System will be closed Thursday for what may be a record fourth snow day in a row. However, local government offices in Fayetteville and Peachtree City will be open for business on Thursday.

By and large, Fayette County residents heeded the official call to stay inside Monday and avoid the icy roads that made travel a hazardous attempt at best, officials said.

And while some were able to hit the road and successfully navigate their way Monday, quite a few were not as lucky. There were a number of abandoned vehicles all over Fayette County that had wiped out, sliding off the road after hitting a slippery patch, said Lt. Donnie Davis of the Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Though the county was fortunate in that there were no power outages or fires to speak of, the weather did challenge public safety crews. Tuesday morning a fire truck was unable to climb a hill while responding to an EMS call in a local subdivision, so the crew had to hoof it up the hill and walk to the patient’s home, Davis said.

Some of the sheriff’s office patrol cars have also been getting stuck in the ice and snow mix, officials said.

“We had a couple of motor vehicle collisions, people running off the roadway, but nothing major,” Davis said.

Fayette County schools and all local government offices were closed Monday and Tuesday due to the icy road conditions left behind by a storm that brought between 1 and 3 inches of a snow and ice mixture.

Fayette County schools will remain closed Wednesday as well, but both Fayetteville and Peachtree City government offices will be open.

Both Davis and Peachtree City Assistant Fire Chief Joe O’Conor credited the public for heeding warnings to stay off the treacherous roads Monday in particular. Both men also said the county and city were fortunate that power was maintained.

People staying at home and off the roads was also a big help, O’Conor said, as there were no major auto crashes or other incidents, as the city maintained power and no fires were reported.

O’Conor also credited the Peachtree City Public Works Department for “a really great job” in working to keep major roads treated and open.

“They worked countless hours to get ahead of this,” O’Conor said.

And their counterparts in Fayette County were also out putting down sand and working to clear major roads in the county, joined at times by state Department of Transportation crews working to get the highways clear.

All personnel for the Peachtree City Fire Department were able to report for duty with no problems, and there were extra volunteers on duty as well in anticipation of a higher than normal call volume that never came, O’Conor said.

“Our folks really stepped up to the challenge,” O’Conor said.

By and large on Tuesday afternoon the major roads were quite passable, but icy patches remain on neighborhood streets and other little-used segments of roads such as turning lanes and the like. Officials urge caution for those who must venture out, particularly in terms of taking it slow and leaving plenty of distance between other vehicles on the road.

The early predictions of the ice storm resulted in local grocery stores getting slammed Saturday in particular as residents prepared to hunker down for a few days. The worst fears were for the ice storm to either directly knock down power lines or cause trees to fall that would knock down power lines. Fortunately those fears never came to fruition.