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Friday, April 25th, 2014

Winter Storm Causes Thousands of Power Outages in Georgia, More on the Way

Georgia Power prepares for thousands of more power outages More than 90,000 Georgia residents were left in the dark on Wednesday and that number is expected to continue to climb rapidly before Winter Storm Pax passes.

As soon as the storm, called Pax by The Weather Channel,  made its way to Georgia, more and more residents began losing power hourly.

At 5 a.m. Wednesday morning about 2,000 homes lost power. When 6 a.m. hit, the number had jumped to 6,000.

A few minutes past 8 a.m. almost 40,000 Georgia Power customers were left in the dark and just two hours later that number skyrocketed to 97,450.

Even residents with electric memberships with Walton EMC and Greystone Power were facing serious outages, although not nearly as many as Georgia Power customers.

Walton EMC reported roughly 1,700 power outages Wednesday morning, and Greystone Power reported about 4,600 with both of those numbers expected to increase steadily throughout the day.

Prior to the storm’s arrival, Georgia Power emailed all its customers warning them about the inclement weather and suggesting that they should to be prepared for major power outages.

The message also assured customers that the company will be doing everything it can to restore power as quickly as possible.

Atlanta was left gridlocked about two weeks ago from a winter weather system that dropped two inches of snow.

Winter Storm Pax, on the other hand, is expected to leave up to six inches of snow in some counties and over an inch of ice on the roads in metro Atlanta.

Major Kasim Reed gears up for Winter Storm Pax As of Wednesday morning, one-eighth of an inch of ice had accumulated on trees and power lines, according to The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore.

“The fact that we have sleet now means major problems for the roads,” Cantore said. “Around a foot of snow could fall in some parts of the northeast Georgia mountains. But they said it is the ice that will have the ‘catastrophic impacts.’ “

Georgians received frightening news when several meteorologists began comparing the storm to another winter weather system that hit the South about 10 years ago and left thousands of Georgia residents in the dark for days.

The scariest part about the comparison is that it is expected to be even worse this time around.

According to the Nation Weather Service, wind gusts are expected to reach up to 30 mph and freezing temperatures along with accumulating ice will likely cause many trees to fall.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal were taking no chances with this storm after both politicians received major backlash for the handling of Winter Storm Leon.

“The message I really want to share is, as of midnight tonight, wherever you are, you need to plan on staying there for a while,” Reed said on Tuesday. “The bottom line is that all of the information that we have right now suggests that we are facing an icing event that is very unusual for the metropolitan region and the state of Georgia.”

Georgia has received extra resources, such as salt for the roads, from neighboring states South Carolina and Tennessee.

Deal warned residents that authorities are not “just calling wolf” with the severe weather reports, and residents should take  suggestions to stay off the roads very seriously.

Meanwhile, meteorologists are still describing Winter Storm Pax as “catastrophic,” “paralyzing” and even “an event of historical proportions.”

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