LOWNDES COUNTY EMA, Jan. 3, 2018--So many thanks to all of you for helping with communications today. It appears the precipitation is over and now we wait for road conditions to improve. Public Works and Utility crews across the community have been working since the early morning hours to stay ahead of the weather. In addition, local law enforcement, fire, and EMS, along with 911 dispatchers have responded to over 100 traffic accidents and the day is far from over. Everyone has done an amazing job, you all make a great team!
“The precipitation that we experienced earlier today has cleared our area and no additional precipitation is forecast over the next 48 hours. Personnel from multiple agencies have been responding throughout the morning, beginning just after midnight, to over 100 traffic accidents as well as spreading numerous truckloads of salt, sand and gravel on to local roads, bridges and overpasses to help break up the ice that has accumulated. Now that the precipitation has stopped falling crews are working to de-ice all of the roads and hopefully allow as much moisture to dissipate as possible before temperatures dip back below freezing later this afternoon. The forecast does not call for additional icing to occur but there will almost certainly be sporadic patches of ice along roadways and bridges so it is extremely important that everyone drive slowly and safely as they travel tomorrow morning. The major contributing factor to the majority of the wrecks that occurred today was excessive speed. Make sure that as you return to normal work and school schedules you take your time and drive cautiously over the next few days so we can hopefully get everyone to their destination safely and without incident. As 911 continues to be inundated with calls it is important that everyone remember that 911 should only be used in the event of an emergency which requires a response from law enforcement, fire department or emergency medical services. Do not call 911 for updates on road conditions or for general information.” EMA Director, Ashley Tye
Law enforcement is also concerned by the potential for black ice to form. Please remind citizens to travel with extreme caution as everyone resumes normal schedules tomorrow.
According to a 2016 statement from the Georgia Department of Transportation, black ice forms when a thin layer of water on the pavement freezes. It can be nearly impossible for drivers to spot it in time to slow down. Motorists are urged to slow down and leave, at least, a two car length distance between their vehicles and the vehicle in front of them. If you do hit an icy patch while driving, turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. http://www.dot.ga.gov/PartnerSmart/Public/PressReleases/WinterWeather-NorthwestGA-1-20-2016.pdf#search=icy%20roads%2A.
Some instances of frozen pipes have been reported today. The following tips are offered to help citizens protect pipes from freezing as temperatures dip during overnight hours.
- Be sure pipes in unheated parts of your home, including crawl spaces, are insulated. Foam insulation for water pipes can be found at any home improvement or hardware store. The foam is typically split down the middle so it can be easily wrapped around the exposed pipes.
- Remove hoses from outside faucets and be sure they are drained and shut off.
- Advise all household members where the main shut-off valve is located in case of an emergency.
- If you will be away from home for an extended time, shut off the water supply and drain the system.
- If you have experienced problems in the past during freezing periods, keep a trickle of water running from the faucet highest in the house. This trickle should be a steady stream the size of the lead in a pencil.
- Insulate or cover exposed backflow prevention devices on fire lines and irrigation systems.
- Commercial water customers should also wrap any fire lines in their buildings. Disconnect any outside water hoses from spigots, as water trapped inside can freeze and crack the hose.
- If you have a pool, allow your pool pump to run during hours of extreme cold. The circulating water will not freeze and will prevent costly damage to your pumping and filtering equipment.
- You can also visit https://www.wikihow.com/prevent-frozen-water-pipes for additional tips on freeze protection.
The following shelters are open this evening and tonight to those seeking shelter from cold temperatures:
- Grace Fellowship Church 1304 West Hill Ave.
- Salvation Army on Virginia Avenue
- New Horizons 714 Charlton Street