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Winter storm closes schools, ices roads in north Georgia

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ATLANTA — An overnight winter storm dumped snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain across north Georgia on Thursday, causing about 30 county school systems to close their schools for the day.
    Snow was blanketing the ground in parts of north Georgia, and ice formed on bridges in the northeast, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Karlene Barron said.
    As much as 2 inches of snow accumulated in Habersham, Dawson, Towns and Union counties, DOT spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said.
    The National Weather Service canceled the winter storm warning Thursday morning, but kept its wintry weather warning in effect for north Georgia.
    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had no early morning problems because of the weather, which was all rain with no ice.
    ‘‘The main reason (for no problems) was because so many of the airlines went ahead and canceled so many of their flights,’’ said Sterling Payne of the airport’s public relations staff. ‘‘We opened our snow desk where we orchestrate movement of planes for deicing, but we had no more than a dozen that had to be deiced.’’
    Delta Air Lines Inc. announced Wednesday it was canceling about 200 flights because of the winter storm warning and Air Tran said it was canceling 29.
    ‘‘It’s looking good barring any additional inclement weather,’’ said Betsy Talton of Delta’s public relations department. ‘‘We anticipate a normal day for the rest of our operations in Atlanta. This is why we make some proactive cancelations.’’
    She said by midmorning Thursday Delta had been able to get passengers from canceled flights onto other flights to get them to their destinations.
    Besides public and private school systems, the University of Georgia in Athens and other colleges in north Georgia also closed because of the weather.
    In metro Atlanta, Barron said bridges were deiced as a pre-emptive measure.
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