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Icy Roads Make For Treacherous Travel

1:46 PM, Jan 8, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Ice Causes 27 Car Pile-up on I-285

  • Motorists spin out on I-20 near the Downtown Connector early Friday morning in icy conditions.
  • Motorists spin out on I-20 near the Downtown Connector early Friday morning in icy conditions.
  • Motorists spin out on I-20 near the Downtown Connector early Friday morning in icy conditions.
  • Motorists spin out on I-20 near the Downtown Connector early Friday morning in icy conditions.
  • Motorists spin out on I-20 near the Downtown Connector early Friday morning in icy conditions.
  • Motorists spin out on I-20 near the Downtown Connector early Friday morning in icy conditions.
    

ATLANTA -- A 27 car pileup early Friday morning just south of Atlanta left three people injured, and was just one in a whole string of accidents that stranded motorists all over Metro Atlanta after an overnight snow storm.

The wreck happened along Interstate 285 at I-85 south of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport early Friday morning.

"Some cars just took a 360-degree turn, like the gentleman behind me," said one motorist, who made it through the carnage unscathed. "It was very scary. No one got serious hurt - some got a couple of neck injuries, and I think maybe two people that they had to take out, as far as on a stretcher."

The most amazing thing - according to emergency personnel on the scene, it did not look like the ramp where the wreck happened had been treated with anything prior to the accident.

Other major intersections across Metro Atlanta were iced over during the overnight hours, resulting in spinouts and accidents across the area. By Friday morning, many areas that had seen snowfall were iced over, as temperatures plunged into the teens, turning the roadways into virtual skating rinks.

Many interstate bridges remained snow and ice covered, and portions of the Downtown Connector slowed to a crawl as traffic tried to negotiate the frozen roadways.

GDOT crews were out across North Georgia, working to get the ice melted along the highways, and advised motorists to remain off the roads if at all possible.

Some of the more treacherous stretches of roadway Friday morning included the I-20 interchange with the Downtown Connector in Atlanta, the I-85/I-285 interchange south of the airport, Spaghetti Junction, all of the roadway bridges crossing the Chattahoochee River, East-West Connector near the Covered Bridge area in Cobb County, Georgia 400 near I-285, and many other side streets.

The National Weather Service issued a statement Friday morning talking about the snow, pointing out that snow accumulations of one half inch to near two inches occurred over a large portion of the area Thursday night. A few locations in the north Georgia Mountains may have received up to 3 inches of snow.

Due to partial melting and refreezing, icy road conditions were reported Friday morning by some county officials and the public -- mostly to the north of the city of Atlanta.

Precipitation had ended across north and central Georgia early Friday, but some snow showers are possible in the north Georgia Mountains on Friday, with a dusting of additional snow possible -- especially at the higher elevations. A few flurries are expected as far south as
Atlanta, but no additional accumulation of snow is expected in the city.

An Arctic cold front was moving south through the state early Friday, and will simply reinforce the cold temperatures of the past few days. Temperatures on Friday will remain below freezing across most of north Georgia, and only rise into the 30s in central areas.

Much of north Georgia will stay in the 20s throughout the day. Northwest winds of 15 to 20 mph will result in wind chill readings in the single digits and teens throughout the day and overnight hours. In the northeast Georgia Mountains, wind chill readings will be near zero late Friday through early Saturday. Despite increased sunshine
Saturday, temperatures will generally remain below freezing across north Georgia and only in the 30s central areas as the Arctic air mass continues to spread across the state.

Cold temperatures will continue Sunday with only slight warming expected. Some areas in far north Georgia and the northeast Georgia Mountains will remain below freezing until Monday afternoon. A weak weather system could bring a slight chance of snow showers to north Georgia again Saturday, but no significant accumulation of snow is expected at this time.

Motorists traveling about north Georgia on Friday, Friday night, or early Saturday should be alert for patches of ice. Some roads in the north Georgia Mountains will remain icy through Saturday.

People planning to spend time outdoors on Friday or this weekend should be prepared for very cold temperatures. Remember to properly protect pets and livestock from the cold as well. Precautions needed to protect pipes and antifreeze levels in vehicles should be made as soon as possible before temperatures fall into the teens Friday night.

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