Fayette and Coweta dodge bullet from winter storm

Mon, 03/02/2009 - 12:15pm
By: Ben Nelms

It was a triple whammy of rain, snow and wind for Fayette and Coweta residents brought up to four inches of snow and flood warnings and temporary power outages. In all, the winter storm brought remarkably few accidents and injuries.

Fayette Fire & Emergency Services Capt. Pete Nelms said the three-pronged event began with rain that prompted the potential for flooding in the Tinsley Mill in Peachtree City and a flood warning in areas of south Fayette. There were no evacuations needed, Nelms said.

Next up was the snow that began around 11 a.m. Several weather-related traffic accidents began around noon, said Nelms. Among those was one on Ga. Highway 92 South near Spalding County, another on McDonough Road near the Clayton line and an accident on Hwy. 92 and Hampton Road with an overturned vehicle. None of the accidents resulted in life-threatening injuries, Nelms said.

Snow was accumulating on some roads in Fayette and Coweta by noon, making for slow traffic and slippery conditions. The white flakes were falling at such a rate that visibility was poor along many roads in Fayette and Coweta counties.

By early afternoon the heavy snow that would result in an accumulation of four inches in some places began accumulating on trees. Nelms said there were reports throughout the county of trees and limbs falling across power lines and onto roadways.

Winds blowing through the county became a factor in the downed power lines.

“We were very busy between 2-5 p.m., but there were no reports of trees falling onto structures,” he said.

Georgia Power reported that power was lost to 42 Fayetteville customers and to 80-90 in Peachtree City and 21 in Newnan between 10 a.m. and midnight. Power had been restored by Monday morning.

Coweta-Fayette EMC reported 2,0000 customers without power in Fayette and 8,000 in Coweta. Outages in both counties were largely in the southern portions of the counties. The main reason for service disruption was downed transmission lines, though power to most customers was restored within two hours. Only scattered outages in Coweta were in effect Monday.

Falling temperatures followed the snow resulted in patches of ice and the closing of Fayette schools Monday. Nelms said his office was in contact with school officials throughout the night to keep them apprised of the situation.

On Monday morning the warming temperatures melting the accumulated snow, combined with heavy rains over the weekend could cause streams to crest, especially in south Fayette, Nelms said.

In all, Nelms said the 911 center was very busy Sunday, especially between 1:30-5:30 p.m., with a total of 41 response calls between noon Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday. He said a special thanks was due the National Weather Service.

“Their estimates and predictions were right on. They did a great job,” Nelms said.

Nelms said that the significant potential flood damage in other areas continues to have been prevented by the county's participation in the federal Pre-Disaster Mitigation Project. Two of the three projects now completed include the Pye Lake Dam project in Fayetteville and the Carroll's Way mitigation project in unincorporated south Fayette. Only the Tinsley Mill project in Peachtree City remains incomplete.

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