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Winter Storm Blankets Cherokee As Residents Battle Icy Roads

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Wednesday for Cherokee County.

Cherokee County roads are filling up fast with snow and ice, and the conditions are not expected to improve anytime soon.

The county is now under a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service early Tuesday afternoon. The warning will be in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday. 

The snow fall and the subsequent inclusion into the winter storm warning came as a surprise to local officials, as the National Weather Service only predicted Cherokee would see little to no accumulations, said Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee Sheriff's Office. 

"I think what we got is a lot more than what the National Weather Service predicted," he added. 

Baker added the road conditions are not "looking good" throughout the county.

Since 10 a.m. Tuesday, the agency has responded to over 100 accidents, most of which resulted in no injuries.

Along with the accidents, there are numerous reports of cars stuck in ditches and school buses getting trapped in the snow. 

In Towne Lake, a car hit a fire hydrant along Towne Lake Hills South near Woodstock Middle and High schools. The hydrant gushed water, and engulfed the car with icy, muddy water.

The road is iced over, and a salt truck is en route to help resolve the situation, the Woodstock Police Department wrote on its Facebook page. 

Baker added some students remain at school due to buses being unable to get to the students.

The hazardous conditions has forced the Cherokee County School District to temporarily suspend bus services.

"Until our roads are made safer, it isn’t prudent to continue to put students on buses at this time," Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo said in a statement.   

District students currently at school will remain there, and a parent or guardian can pick up their child if they are able to do so. 

"Schools will be in direct communication with parents of those students still in their care and are prepared to shelter students as necessary this evening," Petruzielo said. "School buses currently in service on a route will be attempting to complete those routes and deliver students."

Woodstock Police continue to update its followers using social media on the precarious situation in the city.

"At this time, our primary concerns are ensuring the safety of all drivers on the roadways while also treating the roads so as to continue to with an adequate response time to priority calls," said spokeswoman Brittany Duncan.

Duncan added the agency reminds residents to remain patient and drive cautiously. City of Woodstock Public Works Departments and public safety agencies "continue to work diligently and are fully staffed and equipped with personnel and resources," she added. 

Major thoroughfares such as Interstate 575, Highway 92, Bells Ferry Road and Highway 140 are littered with icy conditions. Treacherous conditions plague Reinhardt College Parkway/Highway 140 near Sam Nelson Road, Baker added. 
 
Hickory Flat Highway near Interstate 575 also has icy conditions, as do Northside-Cherokee Boulevard, Baker added. 

Baker, along with other public safety officials, are strongly encouraging residents to remain at home and do not venture out onto the roads.

The surprise snowfall has left some residents expressing their frustrations on local entities being caught off guard by the weather. 

"This day has become a nightmare," said resident Jennifer Tomlinson Walker on the Canton-Sixes Patch Facebook page. "I have two kids stranded at Creekview (High School) and Creekland (Middle School)."

Any Keeton noted she was "pretty irritated as well about schools not calling this earlier." She added her child finally got home 45 minutes "later than what was expected."

"That bus couldn't even get into our subdivision and I'm still waiting on another one to get home," she wrote on the Woodstock-Towne Lake Patch Facebook page.

The National Weather Service notes total snow accumulations could range between 1 and 3 inches across the areas covered under the warning. As temperatures continue to drop today and tonight, black ice could form, making traveling throughout the county even more dangerous. 

Temperatures tonight are expected to dip into the teens throughout Cherokee. Wednesday will bring mostly sunny skies and highs in the lower 30s. 

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