GPS locating soon to be available for emergency calls in Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) moved forward with the purchase of technology to improve services and efficiency when it comes to public safety.

Fannin County Deputy Director of EMA/E-911 Patrick Cooke addressed the Board of Commissioners (BOC) at the Jan. 23 meeting explaining the need for new technology that would allow the option of Global Positioning System (GPS) location on calls coming to the 911 center from cell phone users.

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EMA/E-911 Depurt Director Patrick Cooke gives board members bids received for new equipment for the department.

“It will allow us to send a message to any cell phone, and we will be able to get the exact GPS coordinates off that cell phone,” Cooke told the board, “and we will also be able to communicate back and forth with pictures and other data messages.”

This new feature will be an add-on to the current 911 computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and would come with a price tag of $5,258. There would be a annual maintenance fee in the future. The price of maintenance for the second year would be $4,725.

Fannin County BOC Chairman Stan Helton asked Cooke for examples from the past where this kind of technology would have been beneficial. Cooke immediately cited that there are numerous calls from hikers who have become lost in the woods and stated that GPS location would save time in these instances.

Cooke recalled a specific incident of a hiker last year who was suffering from a stroke while hiking the Benton MacKaye Trail. Cooke felt that had this technology been in use during the time of this call, it could have saved approximately two hours in locating the individual.

The new GPS location feature works by the caller responding to a text message sent to their phone from the 911 center. Once the caller accepts the link provided in the text, dispatchers are able to use GPS location from the cell phone to pinpoint the caller’s location.

The BOC voted unanimously to allow the purchase of this program, with Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson stating, “It sounds well worth it.”

Once the purchase transaction is complete, the new GPS location program will take about a month to implement.

Cooke also presented the BOC with bids for new equipment for a mobile command unit. The Fannin County EMA had been awarded a Homeland Security Grant in 2017, and the purchase of the mobile command equipment would be reimbursed through this grant.

Fannin County EMA Director Robert Graham confirmed previously with the board that when applying for the grant, a list of equipment had been given and the grant would fully fund the list.

Cooke presented the board with three quotes. The highest bid came in at $27,602 and the lowest bid received was $20,526.

“We did receive three different quotes,” Cooke said, giving his opinion, “and we see no reason why we cannot go with the cheapest of the three. It is also the more local of the three companies.”

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee questioned the qualifications of the company with the lowest bid, and Cooke replied the EMA had worked with the company before and had been satisfied with the results.

Helton motioned for the purchase of the new equipment for the EMA, Sosebee seconded the motion, and the board approved unanimously to award the project to the lowest bidder, Mountain Communications, Inc.

 

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Departments update the Board of Commissioners

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Commissioners (BOC) received updates from several departments at the second monthly meeting held on Jan. 23.

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Board of Commissioners receive updates from several county departments.

The first to speak to the board was Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff. Ratcliff spoke of the recent severe weather experienced throughout the county and the impact on the county’s resources reserved for such scenarios.

“With temperatures being in the low teens, it made it pretty difficult to clear the roads,” Ratcliff spoke of the recent snow storm that closed county offices and Fannin County schools for several days.

Due to the recent freezing weather, Ratcliff reported that his department had used 300 tons of salt and 150 tons of the 89 gravel that the county had set aside, and that supplies of these would need to be replenished.

Ratcliff also reported that two vehicles in the Public Works department, a chipper and a Ford flatbed, were in need of repairs and would possibly have to be replaced in the near future.

“Our sign department made and replaced over 400 signs, street signs, this year.” Ratcliff updated.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee questioned the cost of replacing signs, and Ratcliff replied that it varied but the approximate cost was around $35.00 per sign. Ratcliff also stated the department was increasing the height of many signs posted and this action had reduced the number of signs being stolen.

Ratcliff spoke of cuts made to the department and highlighted that salaries had been brought down by $500,000 from the previous fiscal year of 2016. Ratcliff added, “We’re still getting the same amount of work done.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Stan Helton addressed Ratcliff, “Just to reiterate what you’ve done here, if you go back a year ago, personnel wise and wages, you cut that in excess of 25 percent, and you’ve done it the right way.

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Parks and Recreation Director Eddie O’Neal talks about Christmas Clash basketball tournament.

“What I see is more efficiency out there,” Helton added. “The folks that say you can’t shrink government, well you prove that you can.”

Eddie O’Neal, director of Fannin County Parks and Recreation, was second to update the BOC. O’Neal reported that 1,600 visitors had signed in and made use of the recreation facilities in the month of December.

“We also hosted our third annual Christmas Clash basketball tournament where we had 52 teams compete,” O’Neal spoke of the growth of this event.

Teams came from several counties within Georgia for this four-day event. O’Neal informed the board that the success of this event had generated nearly $15,000 in revenue.

O’Neal also spoke of the Summer Day Camp program, which continues to grow, and of additional services that might be offered this year. Parents who utilize the program have inquired of a later pick-up time.

Currently, children in the program would need to be picked up by 3 p.m. O’Neal suggested an extra charge to cover costs of keeping the facility open later so parents could pick up at 4 or 5 p.m.

The cost for two weeks of the Summer Day Camp program is $30.00, and an extra charge of $20.00 is being proposed for parents who wish to have a later pick up.

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson was pleased with the transparency of revenues and purchases that is now being shown in frequent reports from the Parks and Recreation department, and Stan Helton added that he had received numerous calls from citizens that expressed their enthusiasm for the programs that the department has been adding.

“We’ve been approached by Faith Presbyterian Church. Those guys have always done what’s called a Seamless Summer food program,” O’Neal added to his update.

The Seamless Summer program provides food for children in need over the summer. Union County High School would prep meals for this program in the past, but will not be able to in 2018 due to renovations taking place over the summer break.

The department of Parks and Recreation has been approached to see if they could prep these meals while prepping their own meals for the Summer Day Camp program.

“We would like to help these guys out,” O’Neal went on. The program feeds a little over 200 kids during the summer and is funded via reimbursement from Bright from the Start, a Georgia state Department of Early Care and Learning.

No decision was made by the BOC regarding this proposal.

Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody notified the BOC that the Scrap Tire Removal Program has been a success and that the future dates scheduled for tire drop off have been cancelled.

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Board of Assessors member Troy Junnier speaks on behalf of the tax assessors in hopes of getting new vehicles.

“We took over 6,000 tires in,” Woody spoke of the success of the program and adding, “We’ve expended our funds.”

Board of Assessors board member Troy Junnier spoke on behalf of the Tax Assessors Office asking for two replacement vehicles for the department.
“If you don’t allow us to get two more (vehicles), then it is going to cause us a big issue countywide,” Junnier stated, presenting his case to the board. “It’s going to cost all the county residents in the future higher taxes anyway.”

Discussions became heated as Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson expressed that the department does not need new vehicles and should look into buying used.

Ultimately the board agreed to consider purchasing two used vehicles for the department with a spending limit of $20,000 per vehicle.

Johnson ended the exchange, “When I get done with these vehicles, I don’t want to hear anything from the tax assessors (about vehicles) ever again for my remaining three years.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Road conditions, closings, and delays in Fannin County

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Dangerous arctic air has moved into Fannin County following the cold front that brought with it Winter Storm Inga.

As the day progressed roads have cleared of the icy conditions that caused treacherous travel situations throughout north Georgia.

Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff updated FetchYourNews about road conditions in Fannin County: “The main roads have cleared up, but there are still some trouble areas on them. Secondary and dirt roads are still really bad.”

“The high today was only 17 degrees, so the secondary roads got very little thaw. A lot of them have shaded areas,” Ratcliff explained.

The concern going into tonight and the early morning hours tomorrow is black ice. “All that has melted and not dried will refreeze. The temperatures will be in the low teens,” Ratcliff stated.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham also expressed concern over black ice forming: “More than likely overnight we will have more than a few areas where patches of black ice will form.”

Graham did want to thank the residents of Fannin County for using caution when getting out on the roadways today. “We’ve had a couple of fender benders, but that’s it. We’ve had a lot fewer 911 calls than expected in conditions like this.”

Employees of the Public Works Department will be working late into the evening to help clear roads for emergency vehicles as the need arises.

The State of Emergency declared by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal remains in effect for Thursday, Jan. 18. The State of Emergency was declared for 83 counties, including Fannin County. It states that state government offices will remain closed. This comes on a recommendation from the state Emergency Operations Command.

Deal stated, “Our top priority is to ensure the safety of Georgians and to allow the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to continue doing its job.”

There are currently no shelters open at this time in Fannin County. If you are in need of assistance and it is not a life-threatening emergency, you can call the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 706-632-6022 or 706-632-2043. All life-threatening emergency calls should be placed to 911.

 

***UPDATED JAN. 17, 10:42 p.m.***

***OPENING LATE JAN. 17***

City of Blue Ridge Government Offices will open at 10 a.m.

Fannin County Government Offices will open at 10 a.m.

Fannin County Health Department will open at noon

 

***CLOSED JAN. 17***

Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (The Art Center)

Fannin County Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS)

Fannin County Magistrate Court

Fannin County Schools (12-month personnel may be asked to report later in the day)

  • Blue Ridge Elementary School
  • East Fannin Elementary School
  • Fannin County High School
  • Fannin County Middle School
  • West Fannin Elementary School

***LATEST WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY***

Wind Chill Advisory until 10:00AM Thursday

…WIND CHILL ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EST THURSDAY… …WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM EST THIS MORNING…

* WHAT…Occasional light snow and very cold wind chills expected. Little or no additional accumulations are expected. Expect wind chills to range from 10 above zero to 10 below zero.

* WHERE…Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, and White Counties

* WHEN…For the Winter Weather Advisory, until 9 AM this morning. For the Wind Chill Advisory, until 10 AM Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Roads will remain icy and treacherous as temperatures remain below freezing all day. If you must drive, use extreme caution. The cold wind chills may cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frost bite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DAWSON … FANNIN … GILMER … LUMPKIN … PICKENS … TOWNS … UNION … WHITE

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Winter Storm Inga moves through Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Winter Storm Inga is passing through Fannin County and with it is uncertainty as what to expect.

The latest winter weather advisory from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remains in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, and a wind chill advisory is in effect for our area until 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EST WEDNESDAY… …WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 AM EST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Snow occurring. Very cold wind chills expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions. Snow accumulations of up to two inches are expected. Expect wind chills to range from zero to 10 below zero.

* WHERE…Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns and Pickens Counties.

* WHEN…For the Winter Weather Advisory, until 10 AM EST Wednesday. For the Wind Chill Advisory, from 9 PM this evening to 8 AM EST Thursday.

* WINDS…Winds will become strong and gusty Wednesday with northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph gusting to 25 to 30 mph. A Wind Advisory may be needed for Wednesday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Be prepared for reduced visibilities at times. The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

* AFFECTED AREAS: FANNIN … GILMER … PICKENS … TOWNS … UNION

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham spoke about Inga’s potential impact on our area: “Right now, all that has fallen is melting. We are really concerned about icing overnight.”

Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff confirmed this thought, “Icing is going to be a big threat.”

Ratcliff did state that road crews are already out treating known problem areas of the county: “We are spread throughout the county right now treating hills, curves, and known shady spots.”

“We will work as late as we can, but when temperatures get down in the teens and freezing takes place, there isn’t much more we can do as far as pretreating,” Ratcliff spoke of the county’s plan to fight the effects of Winter Storm Inga.

Ratcliff added, “We will be back out in the morning to continue treatment, and my crews are ready.”

The county currently has approximately 300 tons of salt on hand for road treatment, as well as five salt trucks with plows and four pickup trucks with salt spreaders.

Graham explained that models with this system are constantly being updated, “Currently, it shows a possible two inches of snow in some areas.”

Graham urges drivers to use precaution while on the roadways, and as temperatures fall over night, to only travel if absolutely necessary.

There are currently no shelters open at this time in Fannin County. If you are in need of assistance and it is not a life- threatening emergency, you can call the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 706-632-6022 or 706-632-2043. All life-threatening emergency calls should be placed to 911.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest on Winter Storm Inga, including closings and delays in our area.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Mysterious boom rattles Fannin County

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Residents of Fannin and Gilmer counties took to social media late Friday night trying to find the source of what is being described as a loud explosion. The boom that took place had enough force that some residents were reporting their homes shaking from the blast.

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Residents took to social media to try to find the source of the noise.

Brenda Curry, a resident of Cherry Log, described what happened close to midnight on Dec. 29: “At first, I heard (and felt) one big explosion. I looked outside, because it sounded like a transformer had blown, or what I imagined a propane tank might sound like if it exploded.”

“I didn’t see anything,” Curry stated of looking outside directly after the noise,”no fire, flames, or smoke.”

The unexplained noises did not stop there. “Then I heard another boom. A minute later there was another one. Then there were about seven ‘booms’,” Curry added, “A few minutes later about five more.”

Residents in a large area of both Fannin and Gilmer counties described similar events. Reports came in via Facebook of having felt or heard the explosion in downtown Blue Ridge, near Fannin Regional Hospital on Hwy. 5, Morganton, and Cherry Log.

Gilmer County Public Safety, as well as the Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, had no reports of any incidents that would explain the source of the noise that was causing a stir on social media.

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The boom was heard in Blue Ridge, Morganton, and Cherry Log.

Fannin and Gilmer counties can now be added to the list of areas that have experienced similar events in previous weeks. Counties across northeast Georgia have reported booms so loud that homes have been shaken following the blast.

Reports have been filed in Jackson, Hall, Habersham and Madison counties. All reports are similar in description, and no source has been found as to the cause of these booms.

North Georgia is not the only area affected by these unexplained happenings. Reports of mysterious booms have come in from across the Southeast all week, which has led many to speculate on the origins.

One popular theory is the use of tannerite by local gun enthusiasts. Tannerite is the brand name of a patented exploding target used in the practice of firearms. When used for target practice, tannerite can create an explosion similar to a stick of dynamite.

“Realistically, a tannerite explosion can be set off that can be heard for 20 to 15 miles, but the volume you’d be setting off would cause so much localized noise that within a mile of where it was set off would be numerous reports to the police,” Chad Johnson, owner of Rock Ridge Training, a firearms training service provider in Blue Ridge, explained of the effects of tannerite.

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Residents offered possible explanations of the mystery boom.

Johnson went on to say, “If you had a noise that propagated that large, at the fringes it would be nowhere near as loud as the center (localized explosion), but these people are reporting the same relative volume at the fringes – all the way across. So to me that says something is more generalized than localized.”

Believing that tannerite is a good first thought as to a possible explanation of the boom, Johnson says that the science behind tannerite does not fit the scenario that has taken place.

Others in Fannin and Gilmer counties speculated that the cause could have come from military training. Residents are used to military planes running aviation training missions over our mountains, but sonic booms are rare in our area.

“If the military or commercial aviation are flying over populated areas, they are prohibited to break the sound barrier because of sonic booms,” Johnson discussed the possibility of a military cause, “partially because of the annoyance, but secondarily because of the damage to homes that can occur.”

“There are rare times when the military is permitted to do it, when they must for some training activity,” Johnson stated. While it is possible for the military to have granted permission for such training, Johnson felt that it was unlikely due to the time of night.

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The North American Craton is a layer of the North American plate, and has an edge that runs directly through North Georgia.

Lastly, some posed the possibility of an earthquake, and cited the 2.7 magnitude earthquake that took place in Robbinsville, North Carolina, Tuesday, Dec. 26. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, which tracks earthquakes worldwide, no activity was reported in north Georgia or surrounding areas on the night of Dec. 29.

The USGS website does have a page dedicated to unexplained sounds. The website states, “Earthquake ‘booms’ have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast.”

It goes on to say, “No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these ‘booms’ are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.”

No one can say with certainty the cause of what residents experienced in our area, but booms, such as the one that took place in Fannin and Gilmer counties, have been reported throughout our country for years and are likely to continue for some time without explanation.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Utility companies work to restore power to Fannin County residents

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Crews immediately on the scene after Friday’s snow. Photo courtesy of BRMEMC.

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County was not spared the effects of Winter Storm Benji as the storm made its way northeast across the United States. Nationally, this winter storm was noted for record amounts of snowfall in many areas, and estimates have come in that as many as 300,000 homes and businesses lost power nationwide.

Many residents in Fannin County are entering their third day without power due to Winter Storm Benji, and crews with local power companies have been working around the clock to restore power to these citizens.

Fannin County reached the height of power outages on Saturday, Dec. 9. Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) reported between 1,000 to 1,200 members affected. Tri-State EMC has approximately 19,000 meters in their service area. Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC) services approximately 49,000 meters and reported roughly 14,000 members affected by outages.

Many residents, like Robert Moe, of Blue Ridge, were prepared. Moe stated, “We lost power about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. We put in a back-up generator three years ago. Great decision. Hope to have power back before our propane tank runs out.”

“If we run out of propane, we have kerosene and propane heaters,” Moe discussed of his preparedness. “You have to prepare in advance and not wait until you have problems to try to find answers.”

Lulu Lewis, a Morganton resident, has been without power since approximately 11 a.m. Friday morning. Lewis explained how her household is making it through: ” We have a generator for lights, water, TV, refrigerator and freezer. For heat, we have a wood cooking stove.”

Although the past few days have been difficult without power, some residents have not lost their sense of humor. Ken Burdette, of Blue Ridge, describes losing power twice: “Lost power Friday … came back on around midnight. Heard the power guys holler, ‘Just drag it off.’ Power went off again around 9 a.m. Saturday morning and has been dark ever since.”

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Broken power poles and downed lines as a result of Winter Storm Benji. Photo courtesy of BRMEMC.

Burdette says it’s not all bad, and that he’s “rather enjoying candle light dinners with Vienna sausage and cold red wine.” He does admit though, “The hot tub has lost its appeal.”

David Lewis, IT Manager with Tri-State EMC, spoke of the difficulties in dealing with power outages of this nature: “With these outages, it’s a little different than outages because of wind or tornadoes. It was a lot more sporadic.”

Lewis spoke of the causes saying, “It’s mainly from downed trees, pines.” He explained that snow of this nature is very heavy. The weight of the snow can cause downed lines, but trees breaking under the snow’s weight is the main source for the outages.

He talked of crews working around the clock to restore power: “Not only is there a threat from the downed lines, but you also have to deal with snow and ice in reaching some of these areas, and some of these areas can be pretty remote. It’s a pretty dangerous situation.”

As of 12:20 a.m. Monday, Dec. 11, BRMEMC reported that 2,455 members were currently without power and stated via Facebook, “Crews are still working to restore all power and will not stop until all power is back on.”

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Graham stated that there are no shelters open in Fannin County at this time. A temporary shelter was opened in Union County for residents without power or heat.

With another arctic blast headed our way on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and temperatures expected to dip into the teens, residents are hoping that power can be restored to all of Fannin County before the freezing temperatures hit.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Winter Storm Benji impacts Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Snow continues to fall on Fannin County as Winter Storm Benji makes its way out of our region. Residents around the county have reported anywhere from five to eight inches of snow, some reporting more in localized areas.

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Roadways quickly became hazardous early this afternoon. Photo courtesy of Malinda Williams Bakara.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham says that we are in for more snowfall through the evening hours. Graham stated, “Forecasts are showing an additional one to three inches for our area.”

Power outages have been reported throughout the county today, and crews are working on restoring power to those without. Graham stated of the outages, “Several are out on the eastern side of our county, and up in the Dial area.”

Going into the night power outages and refreezing of roadways are of major concern. The roads cleared some today as temperatures slowly crept above freezing, but without wind or the sun to dry the roadways the water left behind is likely to turn into ice.

Director of Public Works Zack Ratcliff released a statement that he is expecting conditions to worsen as a significant refreeze with black ice will likely occur after dark as temperatures begin to fall into the 20s.

Ratcliff has six trucks dispatched throughout the county putting down salt and gravel mix to treat the roads, and three motor graders have been out working in locations such as Aska Road, Old Hwy. 76, and the Mobile and Madola roads area.

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Five to eight inches of snow are being reported across the county. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Ponton.

EMA Director Robert Graham is now urging residents, “Please stay off the roads tonight, unless you absolutely need to get out. Try to stay put in the morning as well. After about 10 or 11 a.m. tomorrow, we hope the temperatures will get back up and melt some of this off.”

Fannin County Fire and Rescue Chief and EMA Deputy Director Larry Thomas spoke with FetchYourNews about area roadways and conditions. Thomas confirmed that his department has already responded to several calls today. Many of these calls involved stranded motorists and residents.

While some could not avoid getting out today, many citizens chose to prepare and stay indoors. Fannin County resident Glenda Higdon spoke of her preparation, “So far so good here. We are gathering water, charging phones and phone banks, brought in another load of wood and cooking food up. We have a wood heater, heat pumps and a generator.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morgaton, McCaysville, Georgia, Winter Storm, Winter Weather, Snow, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Robert Graham, Lakewood Hwy, GA 60, GA 515, Glenda Higdon, Public Works, Zack Ratcliff, Fire Department, Larry Thomas

Glenda Higdons shared this photo of snowfall on her property.

Higdon added with a smile, “We also have a bobcat, tractor, battery chargers, as well! My hubby is a Vietnam Veteran and is not about to get stuck anywhere!”

“We’re both locals so when the blizzard came in 1993, (we) learned a lot about being prepared then (the hard way),” Higdon explained.

Whether prepared or not Winter Storm Benji has left its mark on the north Georgia mountains, and its effects will continue to be experienced in our area for the next couple of days.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information about Winter Storm Benji in our area.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Weather conditions worsen in Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News
Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morgaton, McCaysville, Georgia, Winter Storm, Winter Weather, Snow, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Robert Graham, Lakewood Hwy, GA 60, GA 515

Five to seven inches of snow have been reported county wide.

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Conditions worsened quickly as Winter Storm Benji moved into the area this morning. With initial weather forecasts varying on the predicted amount of snowfall, many residents have expressed that they were not expecting the weather Fannin County is currently experiencing.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham confirmed of the roadways, “They’ve really deteriorated. A lot of the side roads are really, really hazardous. Aska, up that way, is really bad.”

The Fannin County EMA sent out an alert at 12:16 p.m. warning travelers:

“Lakewood Hwy (GA 60) between Mineral Bluff and GA 515 is closed due to accidents and stranded motorists.

Lakewood Hwy (GA 60) between Mineral Bluff and GA 515 is temporarily closed due to accidents and stranded motorists. This section of roadway is impassible due to snow and ice.”

Graham stated that so far the eastern side of the county is experiencing more hazardous conditions than the western side, but added that these conditions could change at any time. Graham reiterated, “I recommend staying in unless you have to get out.”

Reports are starting to come in of power outages in Fannin County due to the weather, and Fannin County EMA has also received a report of a tree down on Mobile Road.

Be sure to follow FetchYourNews for the latest updates on this winter storm.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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