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Winter Storm 2017


The first week of 2017 already brought the first winter storm of the year. Winter Storm Helena blew into the South on Friday, January 6, 2017 before heading up the East Coast. Governor Nathan Deal issued a State of Emergency, and sent all non-essential city of Atlanta employees home early in a staggered departure beginning at 1:30pm on Friday. The salt and brine trucks were out all day pre-treating the roads, but the amount of freezing rain that fell and turned to ice on the highways caused big problems, and not just on the roadways. Ice on power lines left over 50,000 Georgia Power customers out of luck for part of the weekend. In the western to northwestern suburbs, upwards of 4 inches of snow fell, with temperatures expected to plummet into the teens on Sunday as Helena moved up the coast. All in all, the first winter storm of 2017 packed quite a punch.


Winter storm Helena may be just the beginning of a cold, wet winter. Since 1929, Atlanta averaged 2 inches of snow per year, but for the past several years that average snow fall total has increased to 3.4 inches a year. According to NOAA Climate Prediction Center winter outlook, this pattern of colder temperatures and a higher chance of precipitation is likely to continue into the future leading to more cold, wet weather.


Since Georgians are likely to be driving in some challenging conditions for the next few months, below are some tips on how to safe.

Make sure tires are properly inflated; keep the gas tank at least half full at all times;

If possible, avoid using the parking brake and do not use cruise control on wet, slippery roads;

Leave extra room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you to allow for a slower stopping time;

Remember that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways do;

Accelerate and decelerate slowly; allow more time to slow down at intersections and stop lights because it takes longer to stop on snow and icy roads;

Don’t stop if you can avoid it; slow down and roll until a light turns if you can;

Don’t try to power up a hill; try to get inertia going before you reach the hill and let the inertia carry you to the top; once at the top of the hill, reduce speed and proceed down the hill as slowly as possible;

Drive slowly in general; and

Stay home if possible!


If you or someone you love is in a motor vehicle accident on snowy, icy roads, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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