Road crews prepare for winter weather
by Rebecca Johnston
January 18, 2013 12:05 AM | 1752 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Salt and sand mixture is moved from a shed in Canton to one of four trucks waiting to be sent out — if Cherokee roads and bridges start to ice over. <br>Staff/Todd Hull
Salt and sand mixture is moved from a shed in Canton to one of four trucks waiting to be sent out — if Cherokee roads and bridges start to ice over.
Staff/Todd Hull
CANTON — With a forecast of possible winter precipitation Thursday, local emergency workers and road crews were ready no matter what the weather might bring.

Robby Westbrook, director of Cherokee County Emergency Management, said his department was on alert and would be at the county Emergency Operation Center all night in case snow or ice caused any problems around the county.

Late Thursday afternoon, a winter storm warning was issued for Cherokee County by the National Weather Service in Peachtree City with the possibility of 2 to 4 inches of snow and possible black ice.

Cherokee County offices delayed opening until 10 a.m. today as a result of the forecast.

“We have been meeting for a couple of days, with all departments, both city and county, and we have our countywide winter response team ready to go,” Westbrook said Thursday afternoon. “We will be here all night in case we need to ramp up.”

The group, which also includes representatives from the Cherokee County school system and local power companies, met Thursday at 11:30 a.m. for a briefing in anticipation of any wintery weather and the possibility of school closings and other problems.

Westbrook said winds of up to 30 mph were predicted Thursday evening, which could lead to power outages.

Cherokee County Director of Roads and Bridges Cliff Harden said his department was ready for any possibility, with three of the county’s four spreader trucks already mounted just in case and the fourth one ready to go if needed.

“Our supplies are ready. We have some equipment mounted up and we are planning to come in early in the morning,” Harden said.

Harden said his department was anticipating possible black ice on county roads and bridges overnight, even if no snow accumulated.

“What we are really expecting is some possible black ice, isolated calls for that type of problem and we will apply a salt and stone mixture,” Harden said Thursday.

The roads director said if the weather worsens, the agency has schedules for each truck already assigned.

“And in the event we have snow, we have routes of priorities,” Harden said.

Westbrook said that since Dec. 1 several of the automated rain gauges in the county have reported 12 inches of rain.

“That has put us in a position that the ground is saturated,” Westbrook said. “That is a foot of rain.”

By Thursday the Etowah River had crested and was down to 12 feet, he said. The river rose to 14 feet on Wednesday, just two feet below flood level of 16 feet.

“We will continue to monitor as the new system moves in, but the chance of flooding is over for this event,” Westbrook said.

Allatoona Lake is at winter pool and no problems were reported, he said.

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