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State shifting resources to prepare for third wave of ice storm

With crews working to clear roads and restore power duing an ice storm expected to reach historic proportions, Gov. Nathan Deal thanked workers and residents for their response.

“Georgians have heeded the warnings,” Deal said just after noon, thanking the public for staying off the roads, which has allowed for better treatment and keeping roads passable. “That is appreciated by those of us who are keeping everyone safe.”

With another wave expected to shift toward icier conditions east of metro Atlanta, hitting Athens and Augusta, the state is shifting resources, he said. But the DOT is continuing to treat icy roads and about 1,000 National Guardsmen are working throughout the state to help people in need.

The state has opened up National Guard armories and several state parks as shelters, as the ice is expected to cause hundreds of thousands of power outages, but as of noon, no one had taken advantage of the shelters. DFACS workers are on stand-by to help at those locations, if needed.

“We are making preparations to respond to that changing pattern,” Deal said, adding that new supplies of salt and sand have arrived for the DOT and that federal officials have sent prepackaged supplies.

A total of 91 counties, including Gwinnett, remain under a state of emergency, which expires Friday evening. And Deal said people should remain cautious.

“We should not be deceived. This storm has another wave, and there is another wave coming,” he said, adding that most state government offices will remain closed Thursday.

“We have to be very cautious about debris,” Deal added, noting that National Guardsmen and Department of Natural Resources rangers will be working to clear limbs that have fallen due to the ice. “We may need more time after the weather has moderated … before it is safe to go out on the roads.”

When asked about the economic impact of the storm event on the state, Deal said some stores may have prospered with people buying supplies before the storm began, but many will be shut down for days.

“We are a resilient state. We are a resilient people,” he said. “Life will return to normal soon.”