ATLANTA (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Georgians have lost electricity in a storm that dumped snow and freezing rain on a large swath of the state.
Late Wednesday night, about 230,260 Georgia Power and EMC customers were without power statewide.
Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) at 6:15 Wednesday night was reporting scattered outages in its northeast Georgia service area, including 12 in North Hall. This was according to a map on the co-op's website. Other outages were reported in Banks, Gwinnett and Barrow counties. (See links below to Jackson EMC and Georgia Power outage maps.)
Utility crews were able to restore power to thousands of Georgians after the first wave of ice rolled through the state Wednesday morning.
The numbers have been fluctuating as crews restored power and new outages were reported, but they showed a downward trend early Wednesday afternoon after rising dramatically during the morning.
POWER RESTORATION A DIFFICULT PROCESS
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) reminds Georgians that the process of restoring power is a methodical one and, in many cases, can take time.
GEMA says if you lose power be patient as line crews work to restore their power.
As you wait for power to be restored, follow these tips to help you cope with a blackout:
Do not call 9-1-1 for information-call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.
Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. NEVER use candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
If using your fireplace, make sure the flue is open.
Space heaters are acceptable if they are in working condition and for indoor use.
Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.
Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
Leave on one light so that you'll know when your power returns.
Use a standard telephone handset, cellular phone, radio or pager if your phone requires electricity to work, as do cordless phones and answering machines. Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.
According to power providers, the process for restoring electric service begins at the plant, where transmission lines that carry high-voltage electricity to communities start the distribution process. Those lines are the first to be repaired, if necessary.
The next priority is the major distribution lines that provide electricity to critical services and functions, such as hospitals public safety and public works facilities and schools. Next are the distribution lines for areas with the largest number of customers, and finally distribution lines to homes in smaller communities.
It is possible that a neighbor's lights might be restored before yours, but that could be because not all circuits are restored at the same time or one neighborhood could be served by several different circuits.
(AccessNorthGa.com's Ken Stanford contributed to this story.)