Authorities say residential and commercial sprinklers created icy road conditions Tuesday morning.
Augusta Fire Department Special Operations Chief Byron Taylor said he noticed several businesses along Washington Road that had automatic sprinklers running as he drove into work about 5 a.m. despite repeated warnings from the Augusta-Richmond County Emergency Management Division.
“We had several cases where there was black ice forming on the roadways,” Taylor said. “It could also create a hazard to pedestrians on the walkways.”
Mie Lucas, the disaster preparedness coordinator, said the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and workers from the city’s engineering department spent most of the morning monitoring road conditions and spreading salt to improve traction for motorists.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been no vehicle accidents as a result of ice, Lt. Ramone Lamkin said.
“We had some problems this morning with some red lights being out, but things are under control now,” he said. “People seem to be staying inside. Those who are out tend to be driving safer.”
The fire department was also called to shut off water to several Augusta houses with burst pipes, Taylor said.
Heating systems, which have been performing under a heavier load, have been faltering in the colder weather. Lucas said she advises residents to use space heaters with caution over the next few days.
“If you do not have central heating and are using alternate ways to heat your home, be careful,” she said. “Make sure that if you’re using space heaters, leave enough room and to not leave them running all night. If you have a fire going in the fireplace, make sure all the embers are out before you got to bed.”
Don’t leave the house unless you have to, Taylor said.
“If you have a reason to go out, just have an extra level of awareness to your surroundings,” he said.