An ice storm that hit the Augusta area early Saturday caused about 4,000 power outages in Columbia County, some of which still had not been restored by Monday morning, emergency officials said.
Ice coats the branches of an oak tree in front of the Columbia County Justice Center on Saturday. Sleet and freezing rain caused thousands of power outages.
Photo by Barry Paschal
"Power outages devastated a lot of people," Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker said Monday. "We still have a couple of pockets that do not have power as of (Monday) morning in Winfield around Mistletoe."
Tucker estimated that 40 to 50 homes were still without power Monday morning in Winfield and a few others were without power in different parts of the county.
Despite the widespread outages, the storm, which brought about an inch of precipitation, was not as severe as the ice storm that hit the area in January 2004, Tucker said.
"Last year, 70 to 75 percent of our whole county was without power at some point," she said. "This time, the percentage was much smaller."
Work crews from Jefferson Energy Cooperative and Georgia Power were still working to repair power lines Monday. Anyone without power can contact Emergency Services at 868-3303.
During the weekend, 29 vehicle accidents were reported. That was four fewer than the same weekend a year ago when there was no ice storm, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.
"Fortunately, this event occurred on a weekend," he said. "Most likely, if the ice storm had hit on a weekday, accidents would have been much more frequent."
Tucker said road crews helped out by placing salt and sand on bridges and certain roads before the storm hit. Crews also went out again to recheck other areas after the freezing rain began to fall.
No roads had to be closed in Columbia County during the storm.
Falling limbs, weighed down by freezing rain, took out several power lines, creating small fires in the county, Tucker said. But no homes burned, according to Tucker's office.
And overall, the effect of the storm was much less on residents than a year ago, Tucker said.
"We didn't have anybody request shelter this time," she said.
"That tells me, after last year, people went out and bought alternative heating sources and generators. They were more prepared."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.