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Governor declares state of emergency ahead of frigid blast

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency throughout Georgia ahead of an Arctic blast that is expected to send temperatures plummeting into the single digits by Friday.

“Communities across the state are about to see temperatures that they haven’t experienced in a decade or more,” the governor said during a news conference Wednesday at the state Capitol.

The frigid temperatures likely will be accompanied by high winds that could result in power outages.

James Stallings, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, said outages could last several days. With the cold blast affecting other states as well, Georgia utilities will be on their own when it comes to restoring power, he said.

“We can’t bring in a lot of folks from outside,” Stallings said.

Georgia Commissioner of Transportation Russell McMurry said crews already are treating roads in Northwest Georgia with brine in anticipation of precipitation from Thursday night through Friday morning, followed by freezing temperatures likely to produce black ice. Brine operations in metro Atlanta and Northeast Georgia will begin Thursday morning.

Salting will begin Thursday on highways, bridges, and overpasses north of a line between Columbus and Augusta and along Interstate 75 from Macon north to the Tennessee line, McMurry said.

“This is an all-hands effort with this big a geographic area we’re dealing with,” he said.

McMurry advised motorists to stay off the roads on Thursday and Friday morning to make room for the emergency crews.

Kemp’s order waived federal rules limiting the hours commercial truck drivers may drive their vehicles in order to ensure adequate supplies of heating fuels.

The emergency declaration will run through midnight Monday.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.


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