Madison County is bracing for a winter storm that may affect activities for the next few days.
The Madison County Journal print edition will be put out a day early due to the coming storm. But updates will be posted on this site and our Facebook page whenever we have storm news to report.
As of 10 a.m. Monday, no announcements had been made regarding school closings and no government meetings had been canceled.
If you have winter storm photos — whether it’s a downed tree, or a child playing — send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them to our Facebook page. Please include the first and last name of anyone pictured, where the photo was taken and who took it. If you take a picture on a cell phone, please send it at a medium to large file size. Small photos won’t reproduce.
Jackson EMC officials say they are getting ready for the storm.
"We'll be making sure our trucks are fully stocked, fueled and ready to roll," said Jim Smith, Jackson EMC's vice president of engineering and operations. "All of our line crews and right of way crews will be on call and dispatched to any outages that may occur. Our Systems Control, the nerve center of our distribution network, will continue to monitor the cooperative's more than 13,500 miles of energized wire as the storm progresses from Tuesday into Wednesday night to detect outages as they occur."
In the event of an outage, Jackson EMC customers may report outages from their PC or mobile device at the cooperative's website, www.jacksonemc.com, or by calling 1-855-422-7600, and can track outages on the cooperative's website Storm Center outage map. Also located in the Storm Center is information on how to prepare for a storm, electrical safety after the storm and generator safety.
Gov. Nathan Deal has expanded the state of emergency to include 31 additional counties, bringing the total to 45.
The additional counties include: Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Chattooga, Gordon, Floyd, Bartow, Polk, Paulding, Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Barrow, Haralson, Carroll, Douglas, DeKalb, Clarke, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Wilkes, Walton, Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Franklin, Hart, Madison, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
The governor declared a state of emergency in the following counties earlier today: Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Cherokee, Forsyth, Hall, Banks and Jackson counties.
Madison County commission chairman Anthony Dove said county road crews are gearing up for a busy week. The county has four motorgraders to scrape roads and one spreader truck for sand and salt.
“As soon as it starts sticking, we’ll be putting the scrapers out,” he said.
Dove said pre-treating roads could prove difficult in this storm, since early rains in the event could wash off sand and salt before the heavier weather hits. But Dove said the county road will focus first on bridges and areas around schools, along with drives and roadways in the immediate vicinity of county emergency vehicles.
“Then we go out from there and try to make sure the major cut-through roads are taken care of, then we react to reports from areas in need,” he said.
Dove said he would like the county to look at getting a second spreader truck to help prepare roads for winter storms. Such a truck could also be used to spread gravel at other times of the year.
He noted that having enough salt for roads is becoming an issue for many communities right now.
“Atlanta is buying it (salt) up,” he said.
Dove urged motorists to stay off of roads if conditions are bad.
“Anytime the temperature gets around freezing and you have any precipitation, you have to worry about black ice,” said Dove. “And if you can stay off the roads, that’s the best thing you can do. It helps us, because we can focus on roads and not on accidents.”
Editor’s Note: For a detailed local weather report, you may want to check out https://www.facebook.com/athensgaweather