A layer of ice covers a newly planted border grass on Pine Avenue Tuesday, the result of a blast of arctic air which plunged the city into sub-20 temperatures. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — Southwest Georgians opened their doors Tuesday morning to an expected blast of arctic air, but despite being greeted by a 16-degree low and wind chill that that dipped to 6 degrees, weather-related incidents in the area were few.
Albany’s low was recorded at 7:53 a.m. at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. That was a lower temperature at that time of the morning than residents in Casper, Wyo. (31 degrees) and Boise, Idaho (22 degrees), experienced, but residents of Atlanta (6 degrees with a wind chill of -5) or Zanesville, Ohio (-5 degrees and wnd chill of -22) might have been happy to swap places with Albany.
On Tuesday, the city of Albany announced a temporary road closure of the 1800 and 1900 blocks of West Oakridge Drive. City officials said the westbound right lane between the two blocks was closed because of ice on the road. City Director of Engineering Bruce Maples advised motorists to use caution, reduce speed and be on alert for changing traffic conditions in the area.
Approximately 300 Georgia Power Co. customers in the Indian Oaks subdivision in Lee County lost power overnight, but the service was restored by 9 a.m., according to Georgia Power officials.
Albany Water, Gas and Light Commission spokesperson Lorie Farkas said the utility did not respond to any reported outages Monday night or Tuesday.
The Albany Fire Department responded to three structural fires overnight. According to AFD Chief James Carswell, one of the fires was in the 2100 block of East Broad Avenue was in a shed and involved a space heater. Carswell added that he could not speculate whether the resident was trying to keep an animal or water pipes warm.
A Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital official said reports on any weather-related cases treated at Phoebe North’s emergency room during the early morning hours were unavailable and no information would be available until today.
The situation further north in Georgia was a little more severe. The National Weather Service reported a low of 4 in Alpharetta and Dunwoody, 5 in Chamblee, Marietta and Cartersville and 6 at Atlanta’s airport. In the mountains, Dillard and Sky Valley dipped to a single degree with wind chills that reached -12 degrees.
The body of a 66-year-old man was found outside a group home in Clayton County in metro Atlanta. Officials were trying to determine whether the death was weather related.
The cold air even descended into Florida. The overnight low for Orlando was near freezing at 34 degrees, with a wind chill of 25.
Today begins a statewide warning trend. Highs today may reach as high as 50, with an overnight low of 32. Thursday’s highs and lows are 60 and 43. The thawing will continue with Sunday’s high expected to be 73, according to the National Weather Service.