It's pretty this morning, but look out for ice

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 6:21 AM
Last updated 11:00 AM
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Hitting the streets this  morning to check out Augusta's deepest snow in decades?

Sofia Fuenmayor, 5, from Venezuela, learns how to make snow angles near the Evans amphitheater on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010.  Jim Blaylock
Jim Blaylock
Sofia Fuenmayor, 5, from Venezuela, learns how to make snow angles near the Evans amphitheater on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010.

Watch out for ice.

With temperatures still around freezing at 8:30 a.m., Friday night's slush could be this morning's slide.

Major roads across the region appear passable, but secondary roads and neighborhood hills are still slippery.

In downtown Augusta, the Calhoun Expressway has been blocked off at Washington Road and motorists are diverted over to Broad Street and through Harrisburg.

The weather continues to cancel events, too. Paine College announced this morning that the Homecoming Parade scheduled for 10 a.m. has been called off, although other homecoming events are still scheduled for the weekend.

Snow totals vary across the region, but Jeff Rucker, NBC 26 meteorolgist, reported from 5 to 7 inches late Friday night.

That would be the heaviest snowfall since a record two-day snow event 37 years ago this week.

In fact, Friday night's snowfall was unusually heavy, according to an analysis of weather data from the monitoring station at Augusta Regional Airport.

Based on records that date back to 1961, just seven snowstorms have resulted in accumulations of two inches or more in Augusta, said Assistant Georgia State Climatologist Pam Knox. The last such event, which left 2.6 inches on the ground, occurred Jan. 19, 1992.

"One thing I notice is that Augusta has gotten many more of its storms in February," she said. Only two of the eight events occurred in January.

The largest-ever snowfall during that period was Feb. 9-10, 1973, with a combined accumulation of 14 inches.

The last such event was Jan. 21, 2009, when flurries were briefly reported across the Augusta area.

And while the snow was heavy, Steve Chalker, spokesman for Jefferson Electric Cooperative, said it's always preferable to ice.

"Typically snow is not nearly as detrimental to our system as an ice storm would be," Chalker said.

He asked customers to be patient if any outages occur and emphasized they will be ready to fix any problems.

Many of the problems late Friday appeared to be on local highways.

Dozens of accidents were reported in Richmond and Columbia counties after the snow began to come down more forcefully.

Pam Tucker, Columbia County's top emergency management official, said in an e-mail that the Roads & Bridges department had been busy around the county Friday evening with motor graders and salt trucks - scraping roads and salting bridges and overpasses.

She also reported at least 5 inches of snow had fallen, prompting numerous vehicle accidents.

Likewise, Richmond County reported dozens of accidents because of the snow.

Howard Willis, the Richmond County Emergency Management director, said traffic officials had been preparing for the storm since Wednesday and had a fleet of trucks loaded with salt and sand on Tobacco Road ready to keep highways as clear as possible.

Timeline: Augusta Snow Events

(2 inches or greater)

Feb. 9, 1967: 3.3 inches

Feb. 9, 1973: 8 inches

Feb. 10, 1973: 6 inches

Feb. 18, 1979: 3.4 inches

Feb. 6, 1980: 4.2 inches

Jan. 7, 1988:  2.3 inches

Feb. 23, 1989: 3.7 inches

Jan. 19, 1992: 2.6 inches

Source: Office of the Georgia State Climatologist

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toon30467 02/13/10 - 08:09 am
7:06a.m. Feb.13,2010 snow

7:06a.m. Feb.13,2010 snow amount 4.5 inches(Sylvania,Ga.)

Doyougetitnow 02/13/10 - 08:18 am
Love the powdery soft snow

Love the powdery soft snow that fell yesterday and last night. The grandson loves it. Thankful it was not sleet so we're still warm and have a lovely yard to look at. I think it'll be gone before we have to worry about not getting out of the yard. Enjoy! It'll be awhile before we get it again.

Bill Kirby
Bill Kirby 02/13/10 - 08:33 am
Be sure the kids and

Be sure the kids and grandkids get out to see it.
I bet they'll be talking about this one to their own children decades from now.

curly123053 02/13/10 - 08:50 am
I got 5 inches in my yard in

I got 5 inches in my yard in South Aiken. How about the rest of you folks? Wonder if the Chronicle has a way to recieve snow pics and videos from people's cell phones? I know the Greenville paper does.

Sean Moores
Sean Moores 02/13/10 - 09:12 am
curly123053, There is a

curly123053, There is a "share your snow photos" link beneath Bill Kirby's smiling face on the left side of our home page. It's easy to do.

AutumnLeaves 02/13/10 - 09:37 am
There is black ice out there.

There is black ice out there. No point in driving right now, unless it's an emergency.

AutumnLeaves 02/13/10 - 09:39 am
In 1973, we got more than six

In 1973, we got more than six inches on the south side of Augusta, but I think we were still outside "Augusta" at the time, still Richmond County. I wonder where those measurements were taken. Bush Field? or Daniel Field? or where?

Bill Kirby
Bill Kirby 02/13/10 - 09:43 am
When I came to work this

When I came to work this morning, it appeared downtown might have the lightest snowfall of all. Sidewalks on Broad Street are clear. Not sure why. But the farther you get from town the thicker the snow on trees ... and power lines.

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