Emergency management teams spent much of Monday preparing for the 2 to 4 inches of snow predicted to fall across the area starting Tuesday night.
Although sleet and freezing rain are possible, snow is more likely.
“That is the best-case scenario for us,” said Pam Tucker, the director of Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division. “Then we won’t have all that freezing rain and sleet to freeze on our power lines and trees causing power (outages).”
Tucker said emergency management has placed equipment such as motor graders and backhoes around the county for a quick response. Fueling trucks are also available to top off generators in county facilities.
Employees have collected chain saws, checked the county’s 800 radios for fully charged batteries and gathered “plenty” of salt and rock for the roads.
“Regardless of what happens ... we can mobilize and do what operations we need,” Tucker said.
Emergency management staff in Richmond and Columbia counties will begin 24-hour monitoring Tuesday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, snow is expected from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday and could continue between 8 a.m. and noon Wednesday. With Tuesday and Wednesday’s temperatures hovering in the 30s, the snow could stick until temperatures warm up Thursday afternoon. The last such snow in Augusta was over two days in 2011.
Richmond County emergency management officials met with county department heads Monday afternoon to prepare for the weather.
Mie Lucas, the disaster preparedness coordinator, said equipment and road crews were being readied and a facility was available in case the public needed shelter after a major power outage. Lucas said someone will be keeping the Facebook page active to keep the community aware of the storm’s progress.
“We’re really asking people to be prepared and prepare to shelter at home so they’re not putting themselves in danger by getting on the roads,” Lucas said.
Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew said supervisors were asked to emphasize safety to deputies responding to calls.
Although the sheriff’s office has very few four-wheel drive vehicles, Chew said the community has always stepped up to help. In the past, people with four-wheel drive vehicles have offered to help pull vehicles stuck in the snow or help transport occupants if they needed to go somewhere.
“It’s usually a whole community effort,” Chew said.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has asked drivers to prepare their vehicles for icy conditions before travel. They also ask that any sighting of ice on roads be reported as soon as possible.