Thu February 13, 2014
Winter Storm Updates for Thursday, February 13
Last updated 7:35 p.m.
As the winter storm begins to taper off, we are tracking developments and responses all across Atlanta and Georgia: how people are coping with the power outages occurring across a wide swath of the state, how officials are keeping people fed and warm, emergency management, road closings, traffic news -- and, of course, the weather itself.
WABE reporters are speaking with people all across the metro area about how the storm has affected them, what they're doing to respond, and how they intend to get things running again. What we learn will be posted here on our web site, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @wabenews.
Update 7:35 p.m.
WABE News Special Report: Below is the audio from our one-hour live special report broadcast at noon today, February 13. Steve Goss and Denis O'Hayer spoke with people from the National Weather Service and Georgia Power, with various officials from GEMA and other agencies, and with WABE reporters who were working various aspects of this giant news story.
Update 7:20 p.m.
Cobb County Schools: Cobb says that all extracurricular activities may resume after 12:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, and continue through the remainder of the weekend. The statement was not clear concerning the status of classes.
Marietta City Schools: Marietta schools are planning to open on a normal schedule Friday, Feb. 14, subject to road conditions in the morning.
Update 6:40 p.m.
MARTA: MARTA will be running a modified schedule on Friday, Feb. 14.
- Rail service will start at 7 a.m. and run until 11:30 p.m. with wait times ranging from 10 - 20 minutes.
- Bus service will operate on a modified inclement weather schedule beginning at 7:00 a.m. for the following routes: 4,5, 6,15,19, 21, 37, 39, 51, 71, 73,78, 83,85, 87, 95, 99, 107, 110, 111, 115, 120, 121, 123, 125, 140, 155, 180, 185, 189.
- All schedules and bus routes are subject to change.
Cobb Community Transit: CCT will be running on a normal schedule tomorrow, Feb. 14, including paratransit.
Gwinnett County Transit: CCT will resume normal operation on Friday, Feb. 14, beginning at 7:00 a.m.
Gwinnett County: Government offices are opening at a variety of times on Friday, Feb. 14. Gwinnett County administrative offices will open at 8:00 a.m.; all offices of the Tax Commissioner, including the tag office, will open at 10:00 a.m.; Gwinnett County Courts will also open at 10:00 a.m.
Gwinnett County: Ronald Reagan Parkway will remain closed to vehicular traffic until after the Run The Reagan Road Race on Saturday, Feb. 15.
Update 6:15 p.m.
DeKalb County: the latest road closings, current as of 5:45 p.m.
Kennesaw State University: KSU will reopen on Friday, Feb. 14, on a staggered schedule, with faculty and staff reporting at 10:00 a.m. and classes starting at 11:00 a.m.
Pace Academy: Pace will reopen at 10:00 a.m.; the school asks people not to arrive before 9:00 a.m. so staff can make sure the campus is free of ice.
High Museum of Art: the High will be open regular hours on Friday, Feb. 14.
Update 5:55 p.m.
University of Georgia: UGA will reopen at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14.
DeKalb County Government: DeKalb County offices will open at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14.
Brenau University: Brenau will open with 9:00 a.m. classes on Friday, Feb. 14; 8:00 a.m. classes are canceled.
Update 5:35 p.m.
Georgia State Government: state offices will open at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, as per an executive order from Gov. Deal; agency heads have discretion to close offices in areas with significant power outages and to allow teleworking where commuting may be dangerous.
Emory University: Emory will resume normal hours on Friday, Feb. 14.
Georgia State University: GSU will resume normal operations Friday, Feb. 14.
Georgia Tech: Tech will resume normal operations Friday, Feb. 14.
Georgia Perimeter College: GPC classes are canceled for Friday, Feb. 14, but staff and administration are to report at 10:00 a.m.
Georgia Gwinnett College: GGC will be closed Friday, Feb. 14
Southern Polytechnic State University: SPSU will open on a delayed basis at 10:00 a.m.; everyone should avoid the West Main Entrance.
Dunwoody: the city of Dunwoody's administrative offices will open at 10:00a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14.
Zoo Atlanta: the zoo will open at noon on Friday, Feb. 14.
Update 5:15 p.m.
Clayton County School System: Clayton schools will remain closed through Monday, Feb. 17, for Winter Break; school will resume on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Forsyth County Schools: Friday, Feb. 14, will be a work day for staff; no classes, but regular athletics will resume.
Fulton County Government: Fulton Co. offices will open at the regular time on Friday, Feb. 14.
Update 4:45 p.m.
Weather Explanation: the meteorologists at the National Weather Service have posted a YouTube video explaining what's going to happen over the next few days and when the next big system arrives.
Update 4:20 p.m.
DeKalb County Schools: DeKalb schools will be closed on Friday, Feb. 14; all 12-month employees are to report at 10:00 a.m., conditions permitting.
Cherokee County Schools: Cherokee schools will be closed Friday, Feb. 14; all 190- to 235-day staff is to report at 10:00 a.m.
Update 3:15 p.m.
Atlanta Airport: The Associated Press says that about 860 flights in and out of Atlanta have been canceled by airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This represents close to 30% of total daily flights. That is a vast improvement over Wednesday, when more than two-thirds of all flights were canceled.
Atlanta: city government offices in Atlanta will have a delayed opening on Friday, Feb. 14. All city offices will open at 10:00 a.m.
Update 2:25 p.m.
Declaration of Emergency Extended Through Sunday: Gov. Deal has extended the declaration of emergency through Sunday. The Governor is currently surveying the damage in Augusta by helicopter.
Update 2:10 p.m.
Atlanta Public Schools: APS will remained closed on Friday, Feb. 14.
Gwinnett Public Schools: Gwinnett schools will remain closed on Friday, Feb. 14.
Spelman College: there will be no classes at Spelman for students on Friday, Feb. 14. Staff is asked to report at noon.
Morehouse College: like Spelman, no classes for students but staff to report at noon. Morehouse also added the following announcement:
Inauguration will now take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 14, in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, with a reception to follow in Forbes Arena.
All other Inaugural and Founder's Week events, for remainder of the weekend, are expected to proceed at their regularly scheduled times and places.
Atlanta Airport: the airport just tweeted that security wait times are now averaging 45 minutes to an hour.
Update 1:55 p.m.
Atlanta: The City of Atlanta has released some statistics about its response to the storm. It says that during the last 48 hours:
- Atlanta's 911 call center received a total of 5,960 calls.
- Atlanta Fire Rescue crews have responded to 269 total calls, 121 of which were emergency medical service calls and 32 of which were reports of downed trees.
- Atlanta Police responded to 32 vehicle accidents, 30 reports of street hazards or stranded motorists, and 32 reports of downed power lines.
- The Department of Parks and Recreation says that as of 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning, a total of 175 residents had taken shelter in city recreation facilities serving as warming centers.
- Parks and Recreation responded to 26 reports of downed trees.
Update 1:30 p.m.
Atlanta Airport: Our colleague Jim Burress reports that flights into and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are beginning to crank up again after the storm. However, schedules remain very fluid and people should check with their airlines before making a trip to the airport. The airport recommends that you arrive ninety minutes to two hours ahead of your scheduled departure time. And if you do go to the airport, be prepared for long lines at security. The North and South domestic security checkpoints are both closed, and the wait time at the main checkpoint is averaging 30 to 40 minutes, according to the airport. Jim tweeted this photo to show us what that looks like.
Update 1:15 p.m.
MARTA: Bus and MARTA Mobility (paratransit) service have been suspended again today due to road conditions. Rail service is operating, but trains are running at 20-minute intervals. Be sure to allow plenty of time if you take the MARTA train today.
GDOT: GDOT says that traveling on the roads in north and central Georgia, and especially in the Augusta area, remains extremely hazardous and urges people to stay off the roads. With the weather moderating, the chief danger is shifting from icy road conditions to the danger of falling ice, downed trees and fallen power lines. Some road crews have been reassigned from the Atlanta area to the Augusta area, which suffered extensive damage. In the Atlanta area, GDOT has expanded its work from keeping the local interstates open to helping restore normal traffic flow to secondary routes and related intersections within the city such as Moreland Avenue, Memorial Drive at Capitol Avenue, Freedom Parkway, Buford Highway, Lenox Road, and others.
Update 12:50 p.m.
DeKalb County Road Closings: We have posted the latest list of road closings from DeKalb County, which was issued at 12:20 p.m. today.
Update 12:30 p.m.
Historic Midtown Atlanta Building Damaged In Storm: Atlanta officials contacted by the Associated Press say that the historic Craigie House on Piedmont Road partially collapsed during the winter storm. Ice accumulating on the roof caused a wall to fall. The house, notable for its classical columns, was originally built in 1911 but was heavily damaged by a falling tree in 1985. Many Atlantans will remember it as the former headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution located across from Piedmont Park near 14th Street.
DeKalb County: the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners executive session meeting scheduled for 9:00 a.m Friday morning, Feb. 14, has been pushed back to 1:00 p.m. Friday. As a result, the meeting of the Finance, Audit & Budget Committee that had been scheduled for Friday has been postponed until Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 3:30 p.m.
Alliance Theatre: Tonight's performance of "In Love and Warcraft" has been canceled. Patrons should contact the box office at 404-733-5000.
Update 11:50 a.m.
WABE News Special Report To Air In 10 Minutes: WABE News will broadcast a special news report on the winter storm and its aftermath at noon today. On-air hosts Steve Goss and Denis O'Hayer will talk with the National Weather Service, Georgia Power, officials around the state, WABE reporters and others to see how the storm has affected lives and what is being done to get the region back on its feet. Tune in to 90.1 FM at 12:00 p.m. or stream this special live report online at wabe.org.
Update 11:45 a.m.
Blood Donations Needed: The American Red Cross reports that some blood collection operations are scheduled to resume today. Blood donation centers in Alpharetta, Athens, Duluth, and Marietta will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. today, Feb. 13. The Midtown Atlanta center will not open due to safety concerns around the building and the Gainesville center is closed on Thursdays. All other scheduled blood drives are canceled. If it is safe to travel, eligible donors are asked to make an appointment to give blood and platelets.
Donors of all types are needed, especially O negative, O positive, B negative and A negative. There is also an urgent need for platelets. This week's storm resulted in 1,785 uncollected blood and platelet donations in Georgia. Volunteers can call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment.
Update 11:15 a.m.
Over 382,000 Georgians Without Electricity: The Associated Press is reporting that about 382,000 utility customers in Georgia were without electricity Thursday morning, according to the utility companies. Georgia Power says more than 460,000 customers lost power since the storm began and about 237,000 of them were still without power early Thursday, while EMCs in the state say about 145,000 of their customers were without power as of 10:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Another 83,000 EMC customers have had their power restored. The total number of customers who lost power at some point since the winter storm began is close to 700,000. These numbers fluctuate as crews restore power and new outages are reported, and they do not appear to include any municipally-owned utilities.
Update 10:25 a.m.
Red Cross: The Georgia Red Cross reports that since Monday of this week they have supplied more than 4,000 cots, 6,000 blankets and pillows, and hundreds of personal hygiene kits to county governments, churches and emergency management partner agencies for use in warming centers and emergency shelters. Red Cross volunteers are also helping to staff many partner facilities in addition to Red Cross-run shelters.
Update 9:55 a.m.
WABE Special Report at 12:00 p.m. Today: WABE-FM will air a special one-hour live news report on the storm at noon Thursday, Feb. 13. On-air hosts Steve Goss and Denis O'Hayer will talk with the National Weather Service, Georgia Power, officials around the state, WABE reporters and others to see how the storm has affected lives and what is being done to get the region back on its feet. Tune in to 90.1 FM at noon or stream this special live report online at wabe.org.
GEMA Reports Downed Trees Blocking Roads East of Atlanta: The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reports that downed trees in east central Georgia along the I-20 corridor are blocking highways such as US 441 between Eatonton and Milledgeville and back up to Augusta. These cities are also near area medical facilities. GEMA says that the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, the Georgia National Guard and others are moving the trees and limbs to the side for the time being in order to clear a path for emergency vehicles.
Updated List of Emergency Shelters: GEMA has issued an updated list of emergency shelters statewide where people can go for assistance and to get shelter from the cold. We have posted the updated list online.
Update 9:25 a.m.
Georgia DOT: GDOT strongly emphasizes that driving is still hazardous and not advised, but that some degree of normalcy should return by Friday afternoon.
“Snow and ice continued to fall overnight and into this morning,” Georgia DOT Communications Director Karlene Barron notes, “and all along the Interstate Highway 20 corridor from roughly Madison to Augusta, numerous limbs and trees have fallen across roads and power lines. Dozens of crews are working to clear the debris in this area but the public absolutely needs to stay home if at all possible until the roads are cleared, plowed and treated for ice.”
During the storm, GDOT worked to keep the state's interstate highways functioning. The department's road crews are now working on their eighth 12-hour shift. Emergency shipments of salt from other states have helped the department to keep treating the roadways. Atlanta's interstates have received four treatments for ice so far, and two more treatments are expected today. Even though temperatures are expected in the forties this afternoon, tonight the temperatures will drop below freezing again, creating likely conditions for the formation of black ice. GDOT asks Georgians not to get back on the highways until midday Friday, Feb., 14, when temperatures are expected to climb into the fifties.
“We are so appreciative of the patience and cooperation Georgians have shown by staying off the roadways and allowing our wonderful, tireless and hard-working men and women to do their jobs,” Barron says. “If people can just bear with us one more day, we think some level of normalcy on most roadways will be possible by Friday afternoon.”
Update 8:45 a.m.
National Weather Service: the NWS in Peachtree City wants to remind everyone that Georgia is still under multiple weather warnings and advisories (see slideshow at the top of this story). They expect the heavier snow will taper off by 9:00 a.m. this morning, although some light snow will continue through noon in northern and eastern parts of the state. High temperatures today will reach the mid-forties and even the low fifties in Columbus and Americus. Despite the warmer temperatures, driving conditions will remain extremely hazardous. Traveling should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
Updated 8:10 a.m.
DeKalb County: DeKalb has released a list of road closings in the county as of 5:15 a.m. Thursday morning, Feb. 13.
The 5:44 with Denis O'Hayer