11:47 a.m. Feb. 12, update: Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith says he has never seen the county’s roads this bad.
“There’s about a quarter- to a half-inch of ice packed on the ground, and all roads are white,” he said. “It’s just a sheet of ice on everything. Terrible conditions. People walking down the sides of roads are slipping and falling.”
He likened the situation to trying to control a vehicle on a hockey rink.
“We are urging people not to get out in this unless it’s an absolute emergency,” the sheriff said.
So far, that is what most — but not all — local residents are doing.
“We are responding to a call right now on Highway 316 of a vehicle in a ditch,” Smith said. “We’re not sure if she’s hurt.”
But the sheriff said in the four miles of Highway 316 that he has just driven, he has seen only one 18-wheeler driving about 20 miles per hour and one other smaller truck.”
The only emergency calls to the sheriff’s office today have been to check alarms triggered by the winds, vehicles stuck in ditches, and a few people “not using common sense,” Smith said.
“We’ve had a couple of calls about people doing donuts and stuff in the roads.”
10:21 a.m., Feb. 12: From Barrow County Emergency Services: Stay off the roads. The Emergency Operation Center is monitoring the weather and local roads, and conditions are deteriorating as the winter mix continues to fall. The latest weather forecast is calling for freezing rain and sleet with up to 1/2 inch of ice accumulating on trees, power lines, and other surfaces. Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of 1-2 inches is possible.
6:30 a.m., Feb. 12: From the Georgia Department of Transportation: Due to icing, GDOT crews are working in Barrow County at the intersection of SR 11 @ SR 211, SR 11 from the Post Office to the Walton County Line, and the SR 324 bridge over the railroad tracks in Auburn. A crew also is working to remove a tree that has fallen down on the SR 10 Loop in Clarke County.