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Posted: January 6, 2017 10:32 a.m.

City of Covington prepares for Winter Storm Helena

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a winter weather event that will effect Covington. The City of Covington is taking steps to ensure citizens are as minimally impacted as possible for this season’s first significant winter weather event.

Covington has a snow plow with the ability to spread salt and sand, two additional snow plows and a truck converted to spray brine ready to clear and treat roads in the city limits of Covington. Brine is a mixture of salt and water used as a preventative treatment to limit the bonding of ice to pavement. 

“We learned a lot during the winter storm in 2014 and I am confident in the city’s preparedness for this winter event,” City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said. “If we do receive inclement weather, we ask citizens to stay home, stay warm and stay safe. Our resources are better spent assisting with storm related issues than traffic accidents.”

The emergency operations center for Newton County will be housed at Newton County Fire headquarters and the City of Covington will have staff present. City employees will also be prepared to answer weather related calls around the clock, beginning Friday, January 6. If citizens are experiencing or witnessing a life threatening situation, they should call 911. All weather related calls should be made to 770-385-2000.

“The weather models we are seeing show snow accumulation, a break in the snowfall, then a hard freeze on Saturday night,” Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said. “Our plan is to clear the roads prior to the hard freeze and keep the roads passable. In addition, we are pre-treating areas that gave us trouble during the 2014 winter storm.” 

As well as local efforts, Georgia Department of Transportation crews are pretreating all major interstates across middle, east and north Georgia, spreading brine. Operations started this morning at 7 a.m. on Interstate 20 from Newton to Richmond County along with various other major secondary state routes throughout DOT’s 27-county district area. Bridges and overpasses are included in the treatment plan.

Motorists are cautioned to be aware of black ice that may occur whenever there is moisture on the roadway in freezing temperatures. This is especially important after the storm leaves and temperatures drop Saturday evening.

Do not pass trucks spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may kick up and could break car windshields. Motorists should follow at least 100 feet behind government vehicles and be extra cautious when driving through inclement weather conditions. 

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