Roads improving, but icy spots remain

by Wes Mayer

Fewer accidents occurred in Coweta County on Wednesday than on Tuesday, but roads in some areas of the county remained treacherous into Thursday, according to authorities.

“Roads that had bad spots still have it as they froze overnight,” said Jay Jones, director of Coweta County Emergency Management. “With sunshine some roads will improve — others will refreeze tonight.”

Because ice will still be on the roads early today, Jones urges everyone to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. According to Jones, there are not any roads closed in the county, but it probably will not be clear until the weekend — when the temperatures remain above freezing — that the roads will be back to normal.

According to Traffic Sgt. Lane Yearta with the Newnan Police Department, Newnan officers reported only a few accidents on Thursday. “The roads are in much better shape than [Wednesday],” Lane said, “but still have several frozen portions. If drivers do travel, slow is the way to go.”

Coweta County Deputy Fire Chief Todd Moore said the county had not experienced any accidents with injuries Thursday, although some vehicles did overturn when they slid off the road. Moore said fire personnel seemed to be receiving the most calls from Roscoe Road and Corinth Road.

Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens also said Senoia had not had any accidents with injuries either Wednesday or Thursday morning, and the roads were clearing up. He said there were still some issues with Senoia’s city streets Thursday, but public works personnel dealt with those.

A woman lost her life Tuesday after her vehicle slid off an icy road in Senoia. Around 1:05 p.m. Tuesday, Yvonne C. Nash, 60, was driving southbound on Georgia Highway 85 in her 1997 Ford Explorer, according to Gordy Wright, public information officer with the Georgia State Patrol. Near the intersection of Seavy Street in Senoia, Nash was traveling down a hill, lost control, ran off the road and overturned in a ditch.

According to Jones, the temperatures on Thursday reached a high of 37-39 degrees Fahrenheit. Overnight, however, the temperatures were expected to drop to 14. Jones said the temperature today should reach 31 degrees by 10 a.m.

“Stretches of roadway may be passable and look clear, but icy patches exist everywhere,” Jones said.

The temperatures most likely reached the single digits overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, said Associate County Administrator Eddie Whitlock, who helped road crews salt the roads. At daybreak Thursday, Whitlock said he checked his home’s outdoor thermometer and got a reading of zero degrees. When he checked with his infrared thermometer, it read five degrees.

Whitlock said, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, the official low temperature in Coweta County was four degrees.

“It got a lot colder than we originally thought,” Whitlock said. “It’s the coldest I’ve ever seen it.”

Whitlock said the real indicator is the temperature of the asphalt, though — Thursday morning thermometers shot readings of 10 degrees. Whitlock said that is what has been causing the refreezing of the roads.

When the sun came out Thursday afternoon, according to Whitlock, the temperature reading on the asphalt was in the 60s, even though the air temperature was around 38 degrees. According to Whitlock, the shady areas have the most risk of being frozen, and that is where road crews are focusing the most.

The high temperatures today are expected to be in the 50s, Jones said, but the weather is supposed to turn into rain over the weekend, with all temperatures above freezing.

After this week’s snow, Jones notes, for next week the National Weather Service in Peachtree City is calling for the possibility of damaging winds and even the possibility of tornadoes in the county on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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