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Cold weather prompts school delays, but few ice problems

Posted: January 8, 2014 - 1:05am
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Ice covers an entrance to Liberty Square on Washington Road in Evans after what appears to be burst sprinkler pipes, which flooded the entrance.   Valerie Rowell
Valerie Rowell
Ice covers an entrance to Liberty Square on Washington Road in Evans after what appears to be burst sprinkler pipes, which flooded the entrance.

Columbia County was prepared for whatever Mother Nature had in store when temperatures plunged into the teens Tuesday morning.

Roads were in good shape, but Roads and Bridge Department employees prepared for the worst by attaching salt spreaders to some county vehicles to treat ice patches caused by sprinkler systems and water leaks.

Roads and Bridges Manager Tim Holloway said the most common areas for problems are at the entrances to subdivisions.

“Sometimes the sprinklers are set to go off at three in the morning and they are not aware of it,” Holloway said. “We keep in contact with Pam Tucker at Emergency management and she keeps us informed of the weather situation.”

Tucker, director of the county’s Emergency and Operations Division, said the lowest local temperature was 12 degrees at Bush Field early Tuesday morning, a new record low for Augusta. It was about 13 degrees in Evans at 8 a.m. Tuesday and the wind chill dropped it to about 3 degrees, Tucker said.

Crews were spreading salt at a few locations where sprinklers were left on. Tucker said she’s trying to contact property owners to ensure it wouldn’t be a problem again.

Crews from power companies were working early Tuesday to restore power to isolated areas of residents throughout the area. Tucker said the Bessie Thomas Community Center near Grovetown was opened as a warming center for those without power.

The extremely low temperatures and a projected wind chill near zero promoted school system officials to delay the opening of school by two hours on Tuesday. Augusta Preparatory Day School also started two hours later than normal.

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