What's now a postcard-pretty winter wonderland could be something far more dangerous and ugly by Saturday morning.
A winter storm started about 10:30 a.m. today in Columbus and dumped more than 3 inches of snow on Columbus when the heavy stuff stopped shortly after 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Ga.
Officials fear the snow, coupled with temperatures that were expected to reach an overnight low in the mid-20s, will make driving treacherous.
“Once the temperatures start dropping, it is going to be really bad in the morning,” Columbus Police Capt. J.D. Hawk said this afternoon as Columbus roads were already getting thick with with slush. “The wrecks will increase because people won’t leave enough time, they will follow too closely and the bridges will ice.”
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Phenix City tow-truck driver David Lee worked an one-car accident after noon on Summerville Road north of Glenwood School.
“I would say it was a weather-related wreck,” he said. “She said she just lost control and slid off the road.”
There could be a lot more of that as the temperatures plunge, Lee said.
“It’s only going to get worse,” Lee said about 4 p.m. “I have a feeling the next 18 hours are going to be bad.”
Robert Beasley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Services, said there could be a lot of ice on the roads first thing Saturday morning.
“Any moisture on the roads will refreeze overnight, especially once the traffic gets off the roads,” Beasley said. “There will be patches of black ice. I suspect it will be fairly treacherous until at least 10 a.m.”
Georgia Power Co., had crews lined up this afternoon to respond to any outages in the Columbus area. If necessary, they were prepared to travel to other parts the Southern Company’s coverage area.
“We are holding all of our resources to see what thing does to us,” said Georgia Power external affairs manager Robert Watkins.
It wasn’t all work, though.
The snow started to stick shortly after lunch. That sent kids and adults into the parks, streets and yards to play in the snow, which was wet and fluffy.
Perfect for a snowman, said 8-year-old Emme VanDoorn.