SE Georgia schools to close due to winter storm

By Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Steve Patrick, Managing editor of digital content, spatrick@news4jax.com
Published On: Jan 28 2014 10:11:44 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 29 2014 12:47:48 AM EST

School closures and salted roads are typical for the northern half of the country that is suffering through one of the worst winters in more than century for some states. But several southeast Georgia counties are now learning what those in the Midwest and Northeast are already dealing with.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. -

Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn, Ware and Wayne school systems will all be closed on Wednesday as a winter storm is expected to bring freezing rain and sleet to Southeast Georgia.

"The warning calls for rain changing to freezing rain and sleet that may produce ice accumulations which would result in public safety concerns including dangerous driving conditions on icy roads and bridges," said Jim Weidhaas, spokesman for Glynn County Schools.

After-school programs and athletic activities in Glynn County are cancelled for both Tuesday and Wednesday.

In addition to the schools, all Camden County offices will be closed Wednesday.  The county is also opening a cold-weather shelter at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Kingsland First United Methodist Church youth building at 210 E. Williams Avenue.  No pets, peoples, drugs or alcohol will be allowed in the shelter.

The emergency shelter, offering cots, warmers, meals, water and bathroom facilities, is being staffed by the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, Missions for Camden and area volunteers.  It will remain open at least through Thursday morning.

The state's Coastal Health District announced that all public health facilities in Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties will close at 4 p.m. Tuesday and remain closed through Wednesday.

Much of Georgia is under a winter storm watch for Tuesday and Wednesday, with northern areas of the state forecast to see as much as 3 inches of snow, with a wintry mix forecast in the southern regions and near the coast.

"Some parts of the state may end up seeing the greatest impact just because they get more ice than snow," said Jason Deese with the National Weather Service.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews in Jesup were preparing salt trucks and preparing to clear any accumulation of snow and ice from area roads. (AP photo shows snow Tuesday morning accumulating on I-575 near Kennesaw, Ga.)

"We’re monitoring our bridges and roads and making sure they are passible and open to the traveling public," said Chad Harley, GDOT maintenance engineer.

Three hundred state transportation employees are on call covering nearly 7,000 miles of road across 24 Southeast Georgia Counties. The FDOT has snowplows and over 40 pieces of ice and snow removal equipment available for use.

Highway crews will be putting down 36,000 tons of gravel and 26,000 tons of salt, if necessary.

Anyone with any issues about road conditions should call 912-264-7248.

A spokesperson with Waycross police said they will be making sure that all emergency vehicles are gassed up and that generators are working properly in preparation for the anticipated storm

Fifty-five JEA employees -- most of them linemen -- were leaving Tuesday afternoon for Statesboro, Ga., to provide mutual aid assistance to Georgia Power, which is anticipating electrical outages due to the weight of ice building up on trees and power lines.

Light snow was moving into parts of north Georgia by midmorning Tuesday. Further south, around the LaGrange area, a wintry mix was spreading into the state.

"I'm not looking forward to this winter mess that we're about to experience," said Debra Dougherty as she went to the store to stock up on goods, just in case. "Water to dinners, breakfast, lunch, getting it all. Always good to be ready."

Dari Gates also told Channel 4 that it's about being mentally prepared to travel roads that could be layered with ice as early as Tuesday night.

"Going to try to be as alert as possible. I may have to get up a little extra early to be alert and safe. Make sure the tires are good and put plenty of anti-freeze in the car," said Gates.

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