Metro Atlanta warms up as roads remain hazardous

Ice from the storm is near the image of Martin Luther King Jr. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Ice from the storm is near the image of Martin Luther King Jr. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

The anticipated snowstorm for metro Atlanta and beyond never came, and instead many people woke up Saturday disappointed by the lack of snow and to face potentially dangerous icy conditions on the road.

Even so, metro Atlanta roads warmed as temperatures rose throughout the morning. GDOT has 55 sensors tracking the temperature of pavement on highways across the state. Sensors indicate that pavement on almost all highways in metro Atlanta are now above freezing, according to GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. That's good news for crews trying to de-ice state and interstate highways.

Another update: Dale said there have been 232 accidents and other incidents, including stalls, on Georgia highways since midnight Friday. That’s high for a weekend, she said.

RELATED: Why metro Atlanta did not get as much snow as predicted

The weather forecast Sunday for metro Atlanta was for a high temperature of 36 degrees with clear skies, according to Channel 2 Action News. Saturday night’s low temperature was expected to be a below-freezing 20 degrees.

Georgia Power said it restored power to 36,000 customers overnight. But as winds kicked up Saturday morning, the number of affected customers roughly doubled in an hour, from about 8,000 at 8 a.m. to more than 15,000. Shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday, Georgia Power's outage map showed a smaller number of customers, 14,587, were still without power, after freezing rain and snow swept through the area overnight.

“If we get wind and these trees are heavy, they can cause trouble,” by causing trees to fall or limbs to snap and fall on lines, said Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said.

MARTA trains, buses and mobility service were to run on their regular weekend schedules as conditions allow, spokeswoman Alisa Jackson said. MARTA will continue to monitor the weather and road conditions and adjust transit schedules as needed. Go to itsmarta.com for updates. Customer service number is  404-848-5000.

Photos: Snow, ice make for wintry weekend in metro Atlanta

In Henry County, officials planned to "ramp down" emergency preparations at noon Saturday after the storm caused no significant problems overnight.

"We fared pretty well and the key was being prepared ahead," said Don Ash, director of emergency management services. He said there were no power outages or road closings and no accidents causing serious injury. A car slid into a police vehicle in one accident, he said, but nobody was seriously injured.

Georgia Power offered tips for those affected by an outage:

  • Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the door is closed. In a half-full freezer, food will keep 24 hours.
  • Non-electric, unvented space heaters can be a hazard. Use them only in well-ventilated areas.
  • If you use an electric generator, plug appliances directly into it. Never plug a generator directly into your home's electrical wiring.Disconnect or turn off appliances you were using when the power went off. Leave one light on to tell you when service is restored.

RELATED: Latest Atlanta storm news

-- James Pelfrey, Russell Grantham and David Wickert contributed to this report.

About the Author