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Posted: February 12, 2014 6:31 p.m.

Winter storm ... the sequel

Closures; updates from the ice storm

T. Pat Cavanaugh/

Update 6 p.m. : Officials in Newton County said there were still no major problems in the area early Wednesday evening, but they said roads were getting worse and urged residents to stay inside.

Investigator Jeff Alexander with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said there was a report of a tree falling near the Holiday Inn Express at the Access Road, but he said there were no injuries reported.

Capt. Ken Malcom with the Covington Police Department stressed to residents, “Stay home.”

“I can say that the roads have gotten worse over the last few hours,” Malcom said. “We had travelling successfully earlier today, but later in the afternoon, it became even more treacherous again. Now it’s at the worst.”

Malcom said the department has worked two weather related accidents in the city so far. He added that another accident was reported in the area near I-20 in the county. He said as the winter storm has continued through the day, officials have seen less people on the road.

“It is becoming a little more difficult for us (police) to travel. And for the general motoring public, who doesn’t or may not have the tools available, it can be impossible for them to travel,” Malcom said.

Malcom said what’s on the road is already frozen and he said there will be additional rain, sleet and snow overnight.

“We don’t see it getting any better tomorrow,” Malcom said. “We’re asking everyone to stay put unless it’s a dire emergency.”

2:29 p.m.:  Snapping Shoals EMC is reporting 757 customers out of power. Many others are reporting seeing tree limbs on lines. Crews are working to restore their power as quickly as possible. Call 678-814-4961 or use the SmartHub app if you experience an outage.

2:17 p.m.: Governor Nathan Deal reached out to Newton County officials at 11 a.m.

According to the Covington-Newton County 911 Facebook page:

He said that anything we may need to help us would be made available. He gave me a number where he could be reached at his office. It's great to know we have a Friend in the Capital

2:10 p.m.  According to the Covington-Newton 911 Facebook page, power is out on Old Social Circle Rd.

Snapping Shoals EMC is on location handling the issue.

12:44 p.m.: Power is reportedly out in Surrey Chase.

Snapping Shoals EMC says they are quickly working to restore power to about 126 customers. They recomend their SmartHub app to report outages.

11:08: The City of Covington reported a few isolated power outages, but no major issues yet.

Another storm cell is expected to move in later this evening, bringing more freezing rain and ice.

"Those things tend to pick up," Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said. "If we get another tenth inch of snow, things could change real quick.

"On the trees, especially north of town; if you stand outside you can hear trees cracking and creaking. It's pretty scary right now."

Crews from the city of Covington are using snow plows to clear slushy areas and pretreating roads that get less sunlight and tend to ice up first. A list of those roads can be found here.

10:49 a.m. A Snapping Shoals EMC said "We currently have about 3,185 customers without power. The areas most affected are close to I-20 and include parts of Southeastern Dekalb County (around Bakery River Road), South Rockdale (around Heritage High School/Hwy. 138), as well as Jackson Lake at Hwy. 212 & 36"

 10:30 a.m.: Brian Green, a Georgia Power spokesman, said the the power company has less than five power outages in Newton County. Georgia Power services about 2,500 customers in the county.

Investigator Jeff Alexander with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said so far, there have been no major accidents or damages due to the storm.

9:58 a.m.:  County ready

According to Newton County Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien things are calm Wednesday morning.

Ice started falling across the county around 6 a.m., and it didn’t start accumulating until approximately 7:15 a.m.

Newton County public works crews were out deicing roadways early on, and continuing to monitor roadways and intersections throughout the day.

“Right now there are no road closures and no power outages reported,” O’Brien said at 9:45 a.m. “But the roads are very slipper and slick. We’re asking people to stay of the roads.”

Public works director Jody Nolan said crews are addressing some issues, but staying ahead of the game.

"There have been a minimal amount of law enforcment, EMS and fire calls," Nolan said. "We have had contact from Mansfield, Porterdale, Oxford and the city of Covington and it's been uneventful so far, for the most part."

The fear now is, not only the continuing rain, but the slush currently on the roadways.  According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are predicted to drop throughout the day and wind gusts will be 25 miles per hour.

Temperatures below freezing will cause the slush and water currently on the roads to freeze into ice. Wind will help dry some of the water out, but it can also cause trees and power lines to possibly fall due to the weight of the ice.

The Newton County Fire Department and public works department has a full staff on duty through Friday.

“We’re kind of in a holding pattern if we get another band of weather,” O’Brien said. “All crews are on standby right now.”

9:18 a.m. - Snapping Shoals is reporting no power outages throughout the evening. According to Snapping Shoals EMC spokeswoman Leigh-Anne Burgess, there are 1,600 power outages in southeast Dekalb this morning.

 Check back throughout the day for up-to-date coverage on the storm.

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