UPDATE THURSDAY 10:30 a.m.
The sun is out and the snow and ice storm is over. Jackson County missed the worst effects of the storm with little freezing rain. No major power outages were reported.
Main roads are mostly open, but side streets are still icy.
Schools and most businesses continued to be closed today. The JCSS will be closed Friday officials said.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 7:35 p.m.
Sleet has continued to fall throughout the day and some forecasts indicate it will turn to snow during the night. Schools will remain closed Thursday as will most local governments and businesses.
Snow is expected to stop by morning and temperatures may rise above freezing after noon Thursday.
Road conditions are expected to remain icy and dangerous for much of Thursday.
UPDATE 10:40 A.M. WEDNESDAY
Snow blanketed Jackson County in the early morning hours Wednesday, but so far the area has avoided the worst impacts of what is predicted to be a historic winter storm.
Around 2 inches of snow fell in the Jefferson area overnight and that turned into sleet by mid-morning Wednesday. But there has been little freezing rain so far and most area residents continue to have power. JEMC officials said they had less than 1,000 people without power in the North Gwinnett area due to a tree falling on a power line, but no other power problems.
Roads continue to be a problem, however, with a layer of snow and slush making travel difficult. Most of the vehicles on the roads early Wednesday were state and local government public safety officials and those with 4-wheel drive vehicles.
All local schools, governments and most businesses were closed Wednesday morning.
More updates will be posted as information becomes available.
UPDATE 4:45 P.M. TUESDAY
Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) has activated its Emergency Restoration Plan and, based on the latest forecast from the National Weather Service, is preparing for a major winter weather event that has the potential to create widespread power outages.
“The National Weather Service is advising at this point in time that we could see up to a .66 inch accumulation of ice from sleet and freezing rain on Wednesday, with sustained winds of 15-20 miles per hour and gusts of 25-30 miles per hour. Combined that will create a threat of downed power lines, as well as downed trees and tree limbs that fall on power lines,” said Jim Smith, vice president of engineering and operations.
Jackson EMC has called in assistance from 45 electric contractor crews, including crews from south Georgia, Missouri and Florida, to supplement the cooperative’s 34 line crews.
“We’ll be watching closely as this situation develops over this evening into tomorrow, and will begin responding to outages as soon as they’re report,” Smith said.
Smith noted that supplies have been checked, trucks stocked and gassed, and all cooperative employees ready should outages occur. “We’re as ready as we can be, now it’s just a matter of seeing what Mother Nature will throw at us. We are extremely concerned about the impact of this storm on our members and will work as fast as conditions and safety requirements will allow to restore power as quickly as possible.”
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.
TUESDAY 10 a.m.
Area schools, governments, businesses and individuals are bracing for what could be a major two-punch winter storm slated to hit the county Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The Jackson County School System and Jefferson and Commerce city school systems were closed Tuesday due to the snow and winter weather.
Of most concern is the prospect of freezing rain and icing Wednesday, a situation that could result in downed power lines and trees blocking roads.
Some weather forecasters say this storm will be much worse than the 2-inch snow event that paralyzed Atlanta two weeks ago. Jackson County escaped much of that storm’s wrath, but the county appears to be in the very eye of this week’s impact on the state.
Jackson County manager Kevin Poe said Monday that preparations have been made to handle icy road problems.
“Going into Tuesday night and Wednesday, we will continue to motor the weather conditions. We will have our people staggered on shifts so we can go 24 hours straight.”
Jackson EMS director Steve Nichols said the most serious weather conditions are predicted for Wednesday.
“Wednesday is not looking good for us here in Jackson County,” he said. “For right now, we are expecting to see two to three inches of snow and then approximately one-half to three-fourths of an inch of ice and freezing rain to top things off. This much ice is a concern in relation to trees and power lines.”
Nichols said the difficult conditions are expected to be in place through Thursday.
Weather related updates and closings will be posted throughout the storm.