Schools, Government Offices Remain Closed Tuesday; Officials Urge Residents to Avoid Driving
There were four accidents Monday night, but no fatalities, officials said.
(Updated 1:24 p.m. Tuesday)
Has cabin fever set in yet?
Sorry to disappoint you, Canton-Sixes. But you're going to have to stay in the house.
Tuesday's freezing temperatures aren't helping roads thaw out from the winter storm. And now comes word from J. Robby Westbrook, director of the Cherokee Sheriff's Office of Homeland Security—Emergency Management, that there are "major traffic problems.
"Things will get worse tonight and probably last through Friday," he said just before 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Here's a recap of the last few days:
Just weeks after Canton's first white Christmas in more than a century, snow began to pelt parts of Canton shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday. By the end of the hour, an area off Reinhardt College Parkway was a blanket of white, and the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office had announced Highway 140 was closed all the way to the Fulton County line.
"Please avoid driving on Cherokee County roads if possible," Cherokee sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said at 11:21 p.m. "Road conditions across Cherokee County continue to deteriorate. Interstate 575 is slick in numerous locations. Conditions will likely get worse throughout the evening."
Forecasters upgraded the winter storm watch issued Friday to a winter storm warning Sunday. That meant "significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice are expected," Westbrook said Sunday morning. Strong winds and snow accumulations could cause power outages, he said.
By 6:30 p.m. Sunday, local closings began with Chattahoochee Technical College.
A half-hour later, Cherokee's emergency operations center was activated at level No. 2, which allows the county to call the state for help if needed during the storm.
Just after 8 p.m., the closings began to flood in from the Cherokee County School District, Canton administrative offices, Reinhardt University, the Cherokee County Juvenile Court and the Cherokee County Health Department. Cherokee Christian School made that decision Saturday.
In Canton, public works crews started spreading gravel and sand at 10:45 p.m. Sunday.
"We covered all major roads and secondary roads, as well as provided access for emergency vehicles," city clerk Coty Ervin said in an e-mail at 8:38 a.m. Monday. "This operation continued through most of the night until approximately 2:30 a.m."
The city resumed work at 6:53 a.m.
"Due to the large amounts of snow, sleet, and ice, the sand and gravel operations are not effective," Ervin wrote. "Therefore, we have begun using a backhoe to scrape, followed by a spreader to sand and gravel around critical structures (i.e. hospital). We will continue this operation throughout the day as we are expecting an additional two inches of snow and a quarter inch of ice between now and 7 p.m. At this time, all roads are treacherous at best and we are recommending that all residents stay off city streets until further notice."
Conditions across Cherokee continued to deteriorate on Monday. The emergency operations center measured as much as 6 inches of snow in the county at 4 a.m. Officials there reported a few accidents and isolated power outages as well.
"Roads conditions remain poor and will not likely improve for a minimum of 24 to 48 hours," Baker said at 11:22 a.m. Monday.
Later in the day, he urged residents to avoid driving on Tuesday, when "conditions will likely be worse."
Some people did not heed the warning. There were four accidents in Cherokee County on Monday night, but no fatalities, officials said. Since the snow started Sunday night, there have been 23 accidents reported to 911. With the exception of three accidents, none resulted in injuries. The three that resulted in injuries were not life threatening, Baker said.
The winter storm warning was canceled and the National Weather Service issued a freezing rain advisory until 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Monday brought a round of repeat closings.
Cherokee schools spokeswoman Carrie Budd announced at 2:48 p.m. that the district would remain closed on Tuesday. Others followed suit. They included:
- Cherokee government offices,
- Canton administrative offices,
- Cherokee Health Department,
- Cherokee County Justice Center,
- Cherokee Transit and Senior Services,
- Reinhardt University,
- Chattahoochee Tech
- and MUST Ministries in Canton.
Today, there's a 40 percent chance of precipitation and temperatures will crawl into the upper 30s.
Count on Canton-Sixes Patch for updates about snow amounts, road conditions and closings, and we invite you to submit closing announcements and your snow photos and videos to Canton-Sixes Patch. Add them in the comments here or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STAY INSIDE TUESDAY
The Cherokee Emergency Operations Center reports hazardous road conditions in the following places:
For people who have to get on the road, Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mohamed Arafa offered these tips: