As storm rolled in, Macon slipped on icy shawl

jkovac@macon.comFebruary 12, 2014 

WinterWeather

Bibb County sheriff’s Deputy Justin Krage walks back to his car Wednesday after checking on a downed tree along Wesleyan Drive.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

The city’s treetops wore a crystal sheen as winter’s latest chill settled over Macon.

Cold drizzle soaked streets, and ice clung to pines and hardwoods while locals, for the most part, appeared to spend Wednesday at home.

By late morning, the sky was spitting fat flakes of slush at City Hall. But that didn’t last long with temperatures hovering just above freezing.

Sprinkles of plain old rain ruled the day.

Roads were clear, save for the puddles.

Even so, at midday, traffic on Riverside Drive along Interstate 75 was so light it seemed more like a Sunday morning than a midweek lunch hour.

There were no doubt more than a few interstate travelers who pulled off for gas or a bite to eat left wondering where everyone was.

“It looks like most people heeded the governor’s warning and stayed home,” Bibb County sheriff’s Deputy Justin Krage said.

Krage, a traffic cop, cruised the rain-slick city with the calm of a Chicago snowplow operator. Which makes sense considering his father runs a snow-removal outfit there.

Early Wednesday afternoon, there were no iced-over roads, and there was no sign of the predicted sleet.

Then a single ice droplet from a tree plopped onto the windshield of Krage’s patrol car.

“Just like home now, eh?” a reporter riding with him asked.

“Alllmost,” he said.

The morning after it snowed here last month, Krage spent about half his shift clearing accidents on Interstate 75.

And there were plenty to clear.

“At one point, I parked my car and started walking to the different wrecks,” he said. “I wish I would have had my ice skates.”

On Wednesday, though, there was nothing to skate on.

On Macon’s south side, trees donned no icy shawls. Pretty much nothing there was glazed over -- unless you count the day-to-day goings on inside the Pio Nono Avenue Krispy Kreme.

But the icicled scene across north Macon was one of the Deep South in deep freeze.

Pine trees drooped beneath the weight of ice-frosted canopies.

Smoke curled from a chimney off Wimbish Road.

The woodline along Forsyth Road at the Museum of Arts and Sciences glistened.

And it was all so beautiful -- until limbs started snapping.

The wind kicked up and soggy ground gave way, toppling a pine on Wesleyan Drive.

The tree keeled over in a tangle of power and utility lines, blocking the road.

With evening looming, Larry Cochran, who works for a cable company, watched a road crew clearing the fallen pine.

“You can see the ice building up in the trees,” he said. “It’s just gonna get worse.”

But at least there was no ice on the roads.

Then a deputy looking on said, “Not yet.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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