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Atlanta grapples with ice storm
by Noreen Cochran
February 18, 2014 02:41 PM | 1578 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal. Motorists head west on I-20 near the Boulevard exit last week.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal. Motorists head west on I-20 near the Boulevard exit last week.
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Georgia Power was still in Winter Storm Pax recovery mode late last week as 198 Fulton County customers remained without power Friday, mostly in College Park where 186 households were in the dark, although five customers in Union City also waited for the lights to come back on.

Spokeswoman Amy Fink said many of the utility’s 8,000 emergency workers were still in the field and the company will not finish tabulating the expense of putting fallen power lines back up and clearing fallen trees until at least later this week.

“We’re still focused on restoration,” she said.

The utility reported about 615,000 outages across the state during last week’s storm.

As of Friday afternoon, nearly 80,000 customers were still without power, more than 68,000 of them in Augusta.

The number was reduced to 900 by Sunday.

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, storm preparations included salt, sand, liquid to de-ice aircraft wings and pellets to melt snow and ice from runways and other travel lanes.

“We don’t yet know how much material was used, but I can tell you that we had 100,000 gallons of de-icing fluid, 50,000 pounds of de-icing pellets and 50,000 pounds of salt/sand mixture,” spokesman Reese McCranie said.

More than 3,000 flights were canceled by various airlines, he said.

MARTA suspended bus service Wednesday and Thursday but kept trains running into south Fulton’s Lakewood/Fort McPherson, East Point, College Park and airport stations on a weekend schedule.

Spokesman Lyle V. Harris said electrified third rails were treated with de-icing fluid and trains were run continuously over the non-electrified rails to prevent them from freezing.

Walking and driving surfaces were also treated.

“We used four tons of de-icer, seven tons of sand and 20 tons of gravel,” he said. Harris added that the transit authority had no power outages.

Cities are coming out of their two-day closures and assessing the damage.

While College Park was the south Fulton city heaviest hit by ice, Fairburn got its share.

City Administrator Tom Barber said crews spread nearly 20 tons of stone and salt mixture on local roads, which at a cost of $20 per ton came to less than $400 worth of material.

“The more significant cost was the labor, but that was not more than $3,000 for Tuesday to Thursday,” he said.

Fairburn is an electrical service provider to most of its 13,000 residents. Electrical Superintendent Tim Davis said about 75 percent suffered power outages, 98 percent of which ended within 24 hours.

Barber said trees fell throughout the city on Wednesday, but were removed by in-house crews, so no additional funds were expended.

“I would estimate that between our utility folks and our street department that about 20 people worked most of Wednesday and Thursday removing trees and reestablishing electrical power,” Barber said.

The city didn’t experience any damage to its buildings or property, he said, nor power outages at those locations.

Some residents were not so lucky and sought shelter at city warming stations.

“We housed several folks overnight on Wednesday plus one wheelchair-bound gentlemen stayed with us for several hours on Wednesday after a tree fell on his house,” Barber said.

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