After 3 inches of snow fell in the Chattahoochee Valley, some Columbus residents lost power and others couldn’t keep their vehicles on the icy roads, but the city escaped serious weather-related incidents.
By Saturday morning, Columbus police had seen more than 30 accidents since the snowfall began Friday afternoon, said Columbus Police Capt. J.D. Hawk. Officers handled at least another 39 cases where vehicles slid off the roadway, but did not get damaged. There were no reported weather-related deaths or fatal accidents during the snowfall, which began around lunchtime Friday and tapered off by the evening.
Workers with the Georgia Department of Transportation and Columbus’ Public Services division worked throughout the night to throw sand on dangerous ice spots on the roads. Gary Stickles, director of Public Services, said crews received 72 emergency calls from 5 p.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Saturday from people reporting slippery streets — many within shaded areas and hilly neighborhoods. By late morning, all main roads and secondary streets were open, Stickles said.
Georgia Power had “spotty trouble” across Columbus throughout the night. The snow’s weight on trees and tree limbs caused some to break and fall on power lines, cutting power to no more than 400 customers at a time. Employees worked through the night and resolved those outages by early Saturday.
“It was steady, but it was very minimal,” said Robert Watkins, external affairs manager with Georgia Power. “A couple more hours of snow, things would have been different.”
Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing tonight. The National Weather Service predicted partly cloudy skies with a low around 31 degrees today.
Vaughn Smith, forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Ga, said because of that, motorists could see some icy roads Sunday if leftover slush freezes overnight.
“It’ll mostly just be patchy areas with ice,” he said.
Local residents should expect rain Sunday. It should be mostly sunny throughout the day, with high temperatures hitting close to 55 degrees. But on Sunday night, there’s a 70 percent chance of rain.