ICY HIGHWAY
Tami Chappell  /  Reuters
Conditions in Georgia on Monday were far better than Saturday, when highway signs like this one in Atlanta warned drivers of icy conditions.
updated 1/31/2005 11:06:38 PM ET 2005-02-01T04:06:38

Cleanup crews worked Monday to clear toppled trees from roadways and restore electricity to neighborhoods that were still without power after a winter storm spread sheets of ice up to 2 inches thick across Georgia.

About 23,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity — an improvement over the peak of more than 320,000 who were without power on Sunday. Power companies hoped to restore all service by Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been making really rapid progress throughout the day,” Georgia Power spokesman Mike Tyndall said.

The storm, packing a treacherous mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow, laid down about a half-inch of ice in many places, with as much as 2 inches reported in Monroe County, southeast of Atlanta, according to the National Weather Service.

The icy blast canceled hundreds of flights and caused at least two traffic deaths in Georgia.

Damage runs into millions
State officials released damage estimates of $4 million. Most of that cost stemmed from traffic accidents caused by icy pavement and trees that fell across roads. The figure did not include damage reported by power companies.

“This could have been a lot worse. We had trees falling down, but it was really a minimal amount,” said Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, whose office received about 5,000 claims. “We’ve seen much worse ice storms in the past with much more significant destruction.”

Traffic returned to normal on all major highways Monday, a day after temperatures climbed above the freezing mark. Even warmer weather was expected in northern and central Georgia through the week, with temperatures forecast in the 50s.

In southern Colorado, communities were digging out from several feet of snow that fell over the weekend, closing schools, knocking out power and snarling morning commutes in Denver.

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