• Thousands of damage claims expected following snow storm


    CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - The State Insurance Commissioner’s Office said it suspects it will see thousands of claims following Friday’s snowstorm.

    Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland learned Monday that the complaints range from food spoilage, extended power outages and car wrecks. 

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    In Cherokee County, the sheriff's office said they filed 45 accident reports with a dozen injuries, in the 72 hours after the snow.

    That total doesn't include single-vehicle wrecks where the driver handled the paperwork.

    Lisa Graham still had evidence of the damage to her vehicle protruding from the roof of her minivan Monday.

    [PHOTOS: Snowmen pop up across metro]

    She told Strickland the van was parked in the driveway when an 8-inch diameter pine branch came crashing down over the weekend.

    “What did it sound like?” Strickland asked Graham.

    “A big bang,” she said.

    Maulding Wrecker told Strickland they have more than two dozen cars being stored at their Canton facility.


    “There's 28 on our yard and I’ve not even done the totals yet on how many we wrenched out that were able to be driven away,” said Angela Reece, owner of Mauldin Wrecker.

    In Paulding County, Tanner Ledbetter, 21, started fishtailing on slick road and wrapped his SUV around a utility pole.

    “I was completely off guard. My whole thought process was get home, don't get stuck,” Ledbetter told Strickland.

    Mauldin Wrecker told Strickland they gave first responders first priority during the storm.

    Reece said two police vehicles and two fire trucks got stuck and their tow crews had to get them out.

    Despite numerous wrecks from the snowy conditions, the Georgia Department of Transportation said things went to plan with their storm response.

    Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant spoke exclusively with GDOT’s Scott Higley about the agency’s response to the massive winter storm that dumped up to a foot of snow in parts of metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

    “The mantra behind weather systems like this is you hope for the best, and you prepare for the worst, and we got a little bit more of the worst this time around than we expected, and we were prepared to deal with that,” Higley said.

    Plows out in force, plus the state’s new fleet of 11 brine tankers hit the roads Thursday night ahead of the storm, pre-treating highways and state routes, spreading more than 300,000 gallons of brine.

    “The brine did what it was supposed to do. It did its job. It kept the ice and snow from adhering from the roadways largely,” Higley told Diamant.

    A gamechanger after 2014’s Snowmageddon which crippled metro Atlanta and exposed big gaps in the state’s storm preparedness.

    Gov. Nathan Deal promised Georgians changes following that storm.

    “We’ll try not to have this happen to you again,” Deal said at the time.

    Deal appointed a Winter Weather Taskforce days after that storm to hammer out specific strategies, which for GDOT meant new storm plans, more people, road temperature sensors and a lot of new equipment.

    That all added up to major roadways in relatively good shape this time around despite the storm’s intense impact.

    “In terms of winter weather response, what you see from the Georgia Department of Transportation in 2017 is light years different than it was in 2014,” Higley told Diamant.

    GDOT said it's too soon for any takeaways from this last storm, but said it always works to fine-tune its operation.

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