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Iced out: Atlantans deal with power failures

Feb. 12, 2014
David Tulis

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Her baby is 5 weeks old. The power's been out all day. She's nearly out of wood, and has resorted to chopping up furniture to burn.

"This is horrible," said Tori Webberley, who lives off Ga. 85 and Ga. 314 near Fayetteville. "I thought I lived in the South."

More than 200,000 Georgians are without power as brutal winter weather continues hammering the state. The metro area skipped the giant traffic jams that froze thousands in place the last time winter weather struck, but this time power outages are proving most vexatious.

"I prepared the best that I could for this storm," Webberley said. "Precooked some meals last night, stored filtered water in my garage. Brought the little firewood I had inside."

Her provisions were put to the test by the unrelenting sleet and freezing rain.

"I have a 6-year-old and a 5-week-old," she said. "Right now my family is hanging out by the fireplace and I have placed sheets over the door entrance to other rooms to try to keep heat. We are almost out of wood, but took apart a small entertainment center that was in the garage to burn for heat."

The family lost power at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Almost 12 hours later, she said the power had come back on briefly but was back out again. She and Nevaeh, 6, and Dante, 5 weeks, were still hunkered down. Her parents had arrived before the storm to help.

"We are good but maybe have enough wood for 2 more hours or so," Webberley said. 

[NOTE: I interviewed Ms. Webberley and everyone else quoted in this story remotely and have been working with folks in her area, including law enforcement, to try to get her some help. JB]

Nichelle Stephens and her parents lost power midmorning Wednesday in south DeKalb County.

"There are icicles on the power lines outside," she said. "The neighborhood is quiet except for the crackling of the ice."

Earlier, the windy and icy rain proved to be dreadfully accurate harbinger of hardships to come.

"I called Georgia Power to report the outage and hopefully we will get power soon," Stephens said. "Thank goodness we have wifi and a baked ham for making sandwiches. Wearing lots of layers and blankets."

Lori Laney in Decatur is currently dealing with her second power outage of the day; John Taggart had previously sent this photo showing icy Decatur early this morning.

Kevin Hodges and his family are making the most of things.

"We lost power around 8 this morning in Morningside," he said. "Decided to walk to Briarcliff Animal Hospital to visit our dog (at the vet due to a non-weather related illness) and then walked to DBA BBQ for lunch - great buffet and they are showing kids movies. So far so good."

The outage is trying Briana Barganier's patience.

"Power has been out in Riverdale since 8 a.m.," she said. "Every time you report the outage online to Georgia Power it says our power is on. I've done this 10 times now, so I'm not even sure if Georgia Power knows our power is out because online it says it's on."

Are you dealing with a power outage? I want to hear from you. If your phone is charged, email me - jbrett@ajc.com 

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