published Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Georgia scales back storm response

A woman carries her suitcase through the snow at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when operations return after the effects of a major winter storm halted flights for three days, on Thursday.
A woman carries her suitcase through the snow at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when operations return after the effects of a major winter storm halted flights for three days, on Thursday.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — State government officials scaled back their emergency operations, and crews worked to finish restoring power to homes and businesses as conditions improved following a winter storm that dumped snow and ice on much of Georgia.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal warned that there were still patches of ice on roads.

"People still need to be careful," he said. "The roads may appear to be perfectly safe, but it doesn't take but one icy spot to cause a very serious collision."

In one accident on Interstate 75, a vehicle skidded on ice and crashed into several parked cars whose drivers had stopped to help another person.

Nearly a million homes and businesses in Georgia lost power during the storm and its aftermath, but most had power restored by Friday. Of the 989,400 customers who lost power, about 138,100 were still in the dark by late afternoon Friday.

In the east Georgia town of Millen -- an area hard-hit by power outages -- authorities said a 5-year-old girl died early Friday after a candle sparked a fire in her home, which had lost power. The girl's parents are both hospitalized for burns and smoke inhalation, said Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the state fire marshal's office.

The family was using a generator and a space heater to stay warm, but fire investigators determined that an unattended candle in a bathroom caused the blaze. The girl's father escaped but went back inside to try to rescue his daughter and was injured, Allen told The Associated Press.

By late afternoon Friday, 85,000 Georgia Power customers were still without power, and 76,000 of those were in the Augusta area. The utility said it expected to have power restored to nearly all of its customers by late Saturday night.

The state's electric membership cooperatives, or EMCs, said about 53,100 of their customers were still without power at 5 p.m. Friday.

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