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Douglas grapples with ice storm
by Bill Baldowski
February 19, 2014 10:42 AM | 1804 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo
The first two trucks of a GreyStone Power convoy head out of the company’s storm staging area to begin restoring power outages to Douglas residents.
Special Photo The first two trucks of a GreyStone Power convoy head out of the company’s storm staging area to begin restoring power outages to Douglas residents.
If the two snow and ice storms Douglas County has endured since Jan. 28 were scored as a boxing matches, Mother Nature may have won the first round but Douglas County convincingly won the second.

County officials said they are hopeful there will not be a third round.

Although the Georgia Department of Transportation had it hands full with treating the streets, GreyStone Power had an even greater problem with power outages throughout the county.

Utility spokeswoman Ashley Kramer said the cooperative’s eight-county service area, including Douglas, faced more than 11,500 power outages last Wednesday morning during the peak power outage period.

With more than 175 people working in the field to restore power through last Wednesday, including 100 employees and 75 contractors, the electricity cooperative had reduced the number of power outages to 1,000 that evening.

However, Kramer said, a transmission line issue arose Thursday morning affecting Douglas and Carroll counties which caused their number of outages to rise to 11,000 by 9 a.m.

“At that time,” she said, “there were about 4,800 power outages in Douglas County.”

That number dropped to 1,200 total outages by 4 p.m., she said.

“Our GreyStone power crews and those of the contractors working with us to restore power credited pre-planning and equipping efforts as essential in successfully responding to such a massive amount of weather-related power outages,” Kramer said.

The Douglasville-based cooperative has 40,862 individual customers in Douglas County.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked to restore power to those who were still without it,” Kramer said.

County spokesman Matt Kent was stationed in the county’s 911 center from Feb. 12 and 13 helping coordinate the county’s emergency efforts with Douglas County Fire Chief Scott Spencer and Emergency Medical Services Director Jason Milhollin.

Kent said county residents are to be commended for staying off the streets and allowing road treatment to continue without delay.

“Our residents were nothing short of awesome in responding to our calls for cars to remain off the streets as much as possible,” he said.

“Director Milhollin, Chief Spencer and I want to express our appreciation to our residents and business owners for their heeding our call to remain off our streets during and after the storm as it helped our efforts greatly.”

While employees with GDOT were treating the highway systems, such as I-20, county crews were concentrating on such main county transportation arteries as Chapel Hill Road and Thornton Road, Kent said.

The county road treatment could not begin until after midnight last Wednesday as crews had to wait for rain to stop as it would have washed the road treatment away.

“We treated a number of our main county arteries, especially bridges and overpasses,” Kent said.

Looking back to the Jan. 28 ice and snow storm, he said that the time period the storm began was critical to the success of the road treatment.

“The Jan. 28 storm came in during the middle of the day and caught many people off guard as students were in school and people at work,” Kent said.

“About the time the schools let out that day, businesses had begun to send employees home and it caused a huge traffic jam which hampered DOT from treating the roads.”

With last week’s storm coming in during the late night hours, county students were already at home and people were able to remain in their homes, which helped in the road treatment effort, Kent said.

The only major problem the county had last week was a large tree which came down along Kings Highway which required a backhoe to clear it, he said.

“Other trees that came down, we were able to handle with chain saws and did not cause a major problem because so few people were on our roads which allowed us to respond quickly,” Kent said.

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