The snow and sleet had stopped falling and traffic was moving again around Troup County following a crippling storm — but officials warned that ice-covered roads remained a threat for drivers this morning.
State and local officials were concerned with sub-freezing overnight lows potentially leading to layers of black ice coating roads that might appear to be safe.
Temperatures dipped to 6 degrees overnight in LaGrange. Although it is supposed to be in the high 30s today, it is forecast to dip below freezing again before rising into the 50s on Friday.
Heeding the warnings, schools in the county remained closed today. Many businesses are also closed due to the frigid temperatures and treacherous driving conditions.
A storm that dropped just inches of snow Tuesday wreaked havoc across much of the South, closing highways, grounding flights and contributing to at least a dozen deaths from traffic accidents and a mobile home fire. Yet it was Atlanta, home to major corporations and the world’s busiest airport, that was Exhibit A for how a Southern city could be sent reeling by winter weather that, in the North, might be no more than an inconvenience.
As the sun set on Wednesday, roads all over Troup County were again treacherous to motorists. Public works and public safety personnel have reported that roads all over Troup County greatly improved in many sunny spots. However, many large patches of ice have remained in areas with afternoon shade.
“On some roads, you can drive almost a mile on dry pavement. Then you come around a curve and the road is completely covered with ice for the next quarter-mile,” said Road Supervisor Doug Smith.
More than 130 accidents already had been reported this morning to Troup County 911 since the beginning of Winter Storm Leon, and authorities are urging the public to stay off the roads until the remaining areas of ice are cleared. The Georgia Department of Transportation is focusing its efforts on clearing Interstate highways first, followed by the other state routes. The county road department and city street departments likewise, are prioritizing the treatment of local roads and streets.
“Our road department, sheriff, fire, EMS and 911 personnel have shown great dedication and a strong work ethic as they have done all they can do to reopen roads and keep the public safe,” said County Manager Tod Tentler.
Warmer temperatures in the short-term forecast will be a blessing over the next few days, but roads currently remain dangerous.
Troup County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Stewart Smith added that drivers should try to stay in if possible and wait until the roads have had a chance to dry.
All roads were open this morning.
LaGrange Public Works manager Ronnie Cantrell said trash pickup will resume today. The scheduled Wednesday trash pickup will be today and Thursday’s scheduled pickup is moved to Friday. West Point will resume with scheduled Wednesday and Thursday pickups today. Hogansville’s trash pick up schedule is undetermined as of press time.