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Out cold: More than 40,000 Clayton, Henry residents lose power during storm

From left, Kailey Blair, 6, her brother Dylan Driver, 3, and their mother Christina Driver take advantage of the winter weather to build a snowman Thursday. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

From left, Kailey Blair, 6, her brother Dylan Driver, 3, and their mother Christina Driver take advantage of the winter weather to build a snowman Thursday. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

JONESBORO — Much of the Southern Crescent was left in the dark for most of Wednesday and Thursday as Winter Storm Pax moved through the area and took down trees and power lines.

Clayton County was one of the hardest hit areas in the state in terms of power outages because of heavy ice that brought down trees and power lines, according to the company’s online outage map. The county led the state throughout Wednesday in the number of Georgia Power customers without power. By later afternoon, more than 41,000 customers were without power.

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A tree limb fell and landed against a power line causing a fire Wednesday in Jonesboro. Power was out in the neighborhood along Jodeco Road for nearly two hours while crews worked to repair the lines. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

Riverdale and Jonesboro were hit particularly hard.

More than 5,900 customers in the Pointe South area were without power Wednesday and Thursday. It was the single largest cluster of powerless customers in the county, according to the Georgia Power outage map.

The county remained the largest area in metro Atlanta that was still in the dark Thursday morning with 25,732 customers living without power as of 9:20 a.m., according to the map.

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Ice coated nearly everything in Clayton County during Winter Storm Pax. The heavy ice cause power outages across the county. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

Neighboring Henry County fared much better though. Throughout Wednesday, the number of Georgia Power customers who were without power stayed below 10 percent of the company’s 43,559 customers in the county. By Thursday morning, the number was up to 4,487 and the hardest hit areas continued to be around Stockbridge and McDonough.

Central Georgia EMC also had some outages, but they were not as widespread as Georgia Power’s issues. The company had 204 meters out Thursday morning, according to its outage viewer website. Major outages were found Thursday near Locust Grove and along Old Jackson and Peaksvile roads, where power had been out since Wednesday afternoon.

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Slush on the roads quickly turned to ice making travel extremely dangerous. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

Snapping Shoals EMC reported as many as 2,249 customers across eight counties without power Wednesday, but that number was down to 12 customers by 8 a.m. Thursday.

Roads ‘passable,’ but ‘not in great condition’

Henry County emergency management director Don Ash said there had been no reports of accidents or stranded cars as of Thursday morning. He attributed that to efforts the county took before the storm to treat roads by laying dirt on them to help melt the ice.

Henry County Fire Department spokeswoman, Capt. Sabrina Puckett, said road clearing efforts were helped by the fact that many residents heeded warnings to stay of roadways.

Of the roads conditions Thursday morning, Ash said, “they’re passable, but they’re still not in great condition.”

Similarly, Clayton County did not encounter many vehicle issues. Fire Chief Landry Merkison said Wednesday that the majority of calls coming into the county’s 9-1-1 center were about downed trees and power lines. That remained the case over Wednesday night and Thursday morning, said Clayton County police Sgt. Kevin Hughes.