Douglas County continues to get hit with an unusual early December snowstorm that is causing havoc on the roads and has hundreds of school children stuck at their schools. And according to local meteorologist Chris Robbins, things are only expected to get worse as the day wears on.
Highway 5 is one of many major roads in the county that has been hit with slush and major traffic jams from Interstate 20 to Bill Arp.
County spokesman Rick Martin said early Friday afternoon other roads impacted include:
• Hunters Ridge Subdivision: Cars are not able to get in the subdivision and the county has notified the city maintenance and sanitation department of the issue.
• Anneewakee Road: Cars left abandoned on the road.
• Hwy 92/166 near The Canyons – Cars left abandoned on the road.
“We have a number of slick roads all over the county right now,” said Martin. “We are encouraging motorists to stay off the roads … so we can treat them.”
Douglas County Emergency Management Director Jason Milhollin said at 4 p.m. Friday that no roads were closed in the county and that "DOT crews are trying to stay on top of it."
The school system released middle and high school students at 12 p.m. and planned to release elementary school students at 1 p.m.
However, Douglas County Schools Spokeswoman Portia Lake released a video taken by a student of a bus stuck on a hill in the New Manchester area at 1:15 p.m Friday.
“We are using all of our resources, including chains to free the Douglas County school buses that are stuck,” Lake said in a statement released at 1:15 p.m. Friday. “Elementary students are being held at school until it is safe for them to return home.”
Lake said later Friday in a statement at 3:30 p.m.: "In less than an hour, we will expect to be done transporting all students to their homes. School Principals allowed many staff and teachers to go home early once the last students were loaded on to their buses."
Robbins said he expects road conditions to worsen as it gets later in the day.
At 2 p.m., Robbins told the Sentinel that another area of sleet was about to overspread Douglas and Carroll counties and that another wave of precipitation was forming in Alabama. Robbins said about 2 inches of snow had hit the county with first round that started around 9 a.m. Robbins said another 2 inches is possible with the second round.
“That should be sleet/snow changing to snow late this afternoon through the evening,” Robbins said. … “Several hours of snow this evening (is) certainly possible. With sunset, roads may freeze as temps drop a few more degrees.”
There were at least three event cancelations as a result of the weather.
The big Herb Emory Memorial Toys for Tots Drive & Bike Ride scheduled for Saturday at Fred's in Lithia Springs has been postponed until next Saturday, Dec. 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 6p.m. due to the weather.
The Douglas County Chamber Singers Christmas Concert scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. at Douglasville First United Methodist was canceled. Organizers were looking at possibly rescheduling.
Douglas County Parks and Recreation, through the Board of Commissioners, has postponed the Deer Lick Park Christmas event and Tree Lighting ceremony scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9 because of the inclement weather.
“A new date has not been scheduled as yet,” Deputy Parks and Recreation Director Tracie Ivey said. “We will work on scheduling a new date sometime next week,” Ivey said.
Operation Christmas was also set to take place Saturday, Dec. 9. At 3:49 p.m. Friday, organizers released a statement on Facebook: "Due to this weather, some Operation Christmas locations have indicated they will attempt to start as scheduled at 9:00 am, some will delay their start until 11:00 am, and some plan to reschedule entirely. Check with the venue on your golden ticket for further information. However, Operation Christmas promises your children will receive their gifts prior to December 25."