Officials in SWGA still concerned over potentially icy road conditions

Officials in SWGA still concerned over potentially icy road conditions
Crews worked around the clock to spread rocks and sand on South Georgia roads ahead of wintry weather. (Source: WALB)

(WALB) - Officials across Southwest Georgia have continued to warn people that even though the snow has passed after winter weather hit the area on Wednesday, roads are still a danger.

The snow and ice from earlier in the day may have melted, but temperatures are still expected to drop overnight, which means that melted snow could turn into ice on the roads.

Douglas police issue warning to drivers

Police in Douglas are warning people as wet roads are expected to freeze and become dangerous as the sun goes down.

Staying home and having fun in the snow on Thursday may be the safest thing to do until the roads thaw.

A fountain in Douglas is a testament to just how cold it is in the area. It still has some flowing water but it has started to freeze and that's what had first responders concerned Wednesday night.

Few in the city of Douglas would've thought that it's downtown streets lined with illuminated flakes would actually see this much real snow.

"Whoever would've thought that we would have this much snow in the city of Douglas?" asked Paulk.

Mayor Tony Paulk said he woke up surprised by just how much had fallen.

"In my lifetime, I've never seen this much snow in the city of Douglas. It has had a few flurries throughout my lifetime, but this is definitely the most snow we've ever had," explained Paulk.

Paulk said the city has been working with the Department of Transportation and the county to clear the streets, the police department also beefed up its on-duty staff.

Douglas Police Chief Gary Casteloes said that people have, for the most part, heeded the warnings blasted out by his department and others via social media.

"No major accidents in the city which I'm grateful for. Bless the lord for that because we did anticipate quite a few," said Casteloes.

But what officials are most worried about right now is water, that on the road right now is wet but as the temperatures drop overnight, could turn into ice

Casteloes urges people to slow down or stay off the roads if they don't need to be on them, at least until noon on Thursday when they should be thawed.

And many people did just that on Wednesday, taking advantage of a snow day, helping the city get more done by staying home and having fun.

"We weren't that great at making snowmen now. Our snowmen at 10 o'clock we're horrible, but about 2:30, 3 o'clock we became subject matter experts and everybody was mad at the sun at about 4 o'clock," said  Paulk.

Mad at the sun, but safe, after the historic snowfall.

Officials said drivers should stay off the road if they can. They added that the recent hurricane actually helped test out their lines of communication, which made the snow easier to handle.

Department of Transportation keeps an eye on major roadways

The Georgia Department of Transportation is keeping a close eye on major South Georgia roadways in the wake of Wednesday's winter storm.

GDOT Communications Director Nita Birmingham said that crews continue to patrol South Georgia roads, looking for ice that could be dangerous to motorists.

Birmingham said I-75 is the major road they are most concerned about right now, as it is the main roadway for this part of the state. She also said the mix of ice and sand that has been spread on the roadways will also help drivers on the roads.

"The rock has been designed that when cars drive over it, it pushes the rock down into the ice and breaks up the ice and the salt melts up the ice," explained Birmingham.

Birmingham said they expect to be out on the roads overnight into Thursday, checking for dangerous icy spots.

Lowndes County officials concerned about roads as temperatures drop

In Video from Lowndes County, you can see the sand GDOT crews piled on the roads to give drivers a little extra grip.

And even though the storm system has passed you should still be careful if you plan to be driving overnight and in the early morning hours.

"Public Works crews across our community spent a great deal of time today, they actually started around 4 o'clock this morning putting material down and treating our roads, especially our bridges and overpasses," said Lowndes County Public Information Officer Paige Dukes.

Lowndes County leaders also want to remind people that sub-freezing temperatures can leave bridges iced over, and can be very slippery for your vehicle.

Officials urge caution in Thomasville

Thomas County did not have as much snowfall as many counties in Georgia.

But Thomas County officials are still warning motorists to use caution on the roads Thursday morning.

Thomas County EMA said it expects the sun to come out and melt most of the problematic ice by mid-morning on Thursday.

Officials said most people should wait for the sun to dry out the roads before driving, but also to drive slowly, and leave early to allow yourself more time to get to your destination.

"There's still some patches out there we've tried to urge residents out there to stay safe if they have to travel and if they do have to drive to drive slowly and under the speed limit," said Deputy EMA Director Lisa Griffis.

Thomas County officials don't expect too many problems with ice on the roads, but they have law enforcement and Public Works crews checking roads overnight for safety.

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