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Putting McDuffie on ice

It wasn't snow, but it was close enough.


Thomson Elementary student Jada Lawson walks to her bus after classes were cancelled Monday. Click here for more photos
Jason B. Smith
Thousands of McDuffie County residents were left without power and water earlier this week after a winter storm brought wave after wave of ice and freezing rain to the area, closing schools and area businesses. Officials opened a shelter at First Baptist Church late Tuesday.

Police, fire department, as well as city and county work crews worked overtime to clear fallen trees and downed power lines, which proved to be more of a concern for officials and residents than some of the icy roads that forced drivers to stay off the roads.

"We're just cleaning up limbs," said Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders on Monday. "We have a number of limbs that have fallen into some of the streets and across (power) lines. As they fall and we can get to them, we're picking them up and getting them out of the road, trying to keep the roads open."

As Monday went along, more residents lost electricity because of fallen power lines, including McDuffie County schools, which certainly weren't immune to the effects of the wintry blast. School were dismissed around noon on Monday and were closed altogether on Tuesday.

Superintendent of Schools Ed Grisham said the situation on Monday was pretty hectic.

"We had two schools, by the time we got the kids out, that were completely out of power. We also had other schools that had partial power. It was kind of a mess," he said.

Maxwell Elementary and Dearing Elementary were the two schools without power, and Dearing Principal Linda Grisham said that teachers had to think on the fly to keep students busy.

"We had teachers reading to students by the windows," she said. "We weren't exactly expecting all of this, but I think everybody did great."

Local hotels reported a generous bump in business Monday and Tuesday nights.

Anita Aildasani, manager of the Thomson Econo Lodge, said that on Tuesday her hotel was completely full, something she said doesn't always happen.

"This is unusual, and it's because of the weather for it to be so full," she said. "Some people have no electricity and no water. We also have some Georgia Power workers that are here to help with the electricity."

Things were the same at Thomson's Holiday Inn Express, where Manager Geneie Mitchum also said that her hotel was completely full with local residents who were without power or water.

Web posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004

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Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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