School cancellations, slippery driving conditions, road closures and empty government offices were routine in DeKalb County last week after a winter storm dumped four to five inches of snow on the Atlanta area.
Much of north Georgia came to a standstill for nearly a week as frigid temperatures and cloud cover prevented inch-thick ice from melting off interstates and roads.
Because of the inclement weather, DeKalb County schools used an unusual five snow days in a row.
Walter Woods, a spokesman for the county’s school district, said the school calendar has four inclement weather days built in. Since five days have been used, the district will have to convert other days to school days such as teacher work days and other holidays.
DeKalb, along with the other affected districts, is also waiting for direction from the state’s Department of Education to see how the excessive day must be made up, Woods said.
“It’s early in the year, so hopefully there won’t be any more,” Woods said.
Between Sunday and Wednesday of last week, the DeKalb County 911 center received 13,967 calls. Of those, 5,730 were emergency 911 calls and 8,237 were non-emergency or administrative calls.
Jason Gagnon, a DeKalb Police spokesman, said the weather slowed the department’s call response time only slightly.
“We still got to all the calls,” Gagnon said. The department responded to 165 vehicle accidents on last Wednesday alone. But there were no fatalities or serious injuries.
Police car tires were outfitted with makeshift chains to increase traction, Gagnon said. No DeKalb police officers were involved in accidents during the bad weather conditions.
DeKalb police responded to an armed robbery at about 9 p.m. on Jan. 10 at the Citgo gas station at the intersection of Rockbridge Road and South Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road. Officers responded within five minutes and the county’s SWAT team arrived within 10-20 minutes, Gagnon said. After a few shots were exchanged, three suspects were taken into custody.
Sgt. Mike Carlson, public information officer for the Dunwoody Police Department, said Dunwoody had a lot of accidents just as other municipalities did. Some people were more concerned about making it home than reporting the accident, Carlson said.
The city did not have many road closures, Carlson said. Police officers worked with public works employees to keep the roads safe.
Carlson said one Dunwoody police officer was involved in a minor accident.
The department also used its Twitter account to keep residents informed about road conditions. One update on Jan. 10 asked business owners to stay closed: “We know some businesses are planning on opening later today. Please don’t. Road conditions are bad and will probably get worse.”
The snow forced the closure of the DeKalb County Recorders Court, parks and recreation facilities, libraries and senior citizen centers. The Board of Commissioners had to postpone its regular meeting for four days. The county’s sanitation department suspended residential garbage collection for several days.