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Sunshine where art thou?
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Sunshine where art thou?

Sunshine where art thou?
Photo Credit: Ben Gray
A lone vehicle traverses the Downtown Connector Thursday morning as limited lanes were opened by snowplows overnight.

Sunshine where art thou?

The snow is finally tapering off from the northwest across metro Atlanta, and while sunshine is forecast later in the day, authorities still advise against venturing out onto snow-covered roads.

Meanwhile, 364,000 Georgians are waking up with no electricity as ice-laden trees and power lines continue to fall.

Here’s what you need to know on Day 2 of the ice and snow storm that brought much of north and central Georgia to a standstill:

We will see the sun again

Thursday morning’s lingering flurries were tapering off at 9 a.m., and had already ended in the northwest suburbs.

“The worst of it will be transferring to the north and east away from Georgia,” says WSB meteorologist Kirk Mellish. “We’ve kind of gotten through this as best we could hope for.”

Then we get to the melting. That will come later Thursday. But there is a lot of work to do.

“Things are still going to be very tricky the first half of Thursday,” said Mellish.

High temperatures on Thursday will reach the low to mid 40s with increasing sun. So if the ice is not in the shade, it could melt away. However there is much more ice and snow to get rid of than there was two weeks ago, but we will be much warmer than with the last snow and that will help alot.

So getting to work still seems unlikely on Thursday. Plus, we will go back below freezing again Thursday night. Mellish is looking at lows 27-31.

But Friday you might have a better shot in the afternoon.

“I think things will be improving quite a bit,” says Mellish.

Mellish is calling for highs to move to around 53. Lows will be near 30. There is a 60 percent chance of light rain for your Valentine’s Day evening.

Once we get to the weekend, all of this should be a faint memory. It will be a decent amount of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday. Highs Saturday will be in the upper 40s, while we warm up to about 53 on Sunday. But Mellish says the cure for cabin fever comes next week with highs in the 60s to near 70 by the middle or end of the week!

Roads and traffic

Despite the snow tapering off and the promises of some afternoon thawing, Mark Arum in the AM750 and 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center advised motorists to refrain from getting on the roads.

“If you can, hold off,” Arum said.“We’re not in the clear yet as far as the roads are concerned.”

Georgia Department of Transportation traffic cameras showed metro interstates nearly deserted during what would normally be the height of the morning rush hour.

Chandley said that with late-morning sunshine and temperatures above freezing, main highways that have been treated and scraped by road crews should be fairly clear. “Less-treated roads, no so much,” Chandley said, adding that some refreezing is possible Thursday night.

A spokeswoman for GDOT had no prediction early Thursday on when roads would be clear enough for routine travel.

“Now is not the time to get out on the road,” spokeswoman Natalie Dale told Channel 2 Action News.

“We’re not suggesting that anyone get out on the road today,” she said. “We do understand that people want to return to work, people are asking about when the opportunity might be. It’s not now.”

Public transportation

MARTA bus service was suspended for Thursday, as were Cobb Community Transit buses.

MARTA planned to begin limited rail service at 8 a.m.

Schools

Virtually all schools and colleges across metro Atlanta remained closed Thursday.

Power

Georgia Power officials reported just over 240,000 customers without electricty at 9:30 a.m., while another 124,000 customers of the state’s electric membership cooperatives were also without power.

Power had already been restored to 159,000 Georgia Power customers and 51,000 EMC customers by Wednesday night, bringing the total number of utility customers affected by the ice and snow storm to more than a half-million.

Map of Georgia Power outages.

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News

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  • Police have found no evidence that the man who killed four people in London last week was associated with the Islamic State group or al-Qaida, a senior British counterterrorism officer said Monday. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police said Westminster attacker Khalid Masood clearly had 'an interest in jihad,' but police have no indication he discussed his attack plans with others. Basu, who also serves as Britain's senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said Wednesday's attack — in which Masood ran down pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a policeman guarding Parliament — 'appears to be based on low-sophistication, low-tech, low-cost techniques copied from other attacks.' Masood was shot dead by police after his deadly rampage, which police have revealed lasted just 82 seconds. Police believe Masood — a 52-year-old Briton with convictions for violence who had spent several years in Saudi Arabia — acted alone, but are trying to determine whether others helped inspire or direct his actions. Detectives on Monday continued to question a 30-year-old man arrested Sunday and a 58-year-old man arrested shortly after Wednesday's attack. Both were detained in the central England city of Birmingham, where Masood had recently lived. Prime Minister Theresa May said last week that Masood was 'a peripheral figure' in an investigation into violent extremism some years ago. But Basu said he was not a 'subject of interest' for counterterrorism police or the intelligence services before last week's attack. Masood was born Adrian Elms, but changed his name in 2005, suggesting a conversion to Islam. His mother, Janet Ajao, said Monday she was 'deeply shocked, saddened and numbed' by his murderous actions. In a statement released through the police, Ajao said that 'since discovering that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.' Basu said there was no sign Masood was radicalized during one of his stints in prison, the last of which was in 2003. 'I know when, where and how Masood committed his atrocities, but now I need to know why,' Basu said. 'Most importantly, so do the victims and families.' As Basu appealed for anyone who spoke to Masood on the day of the attack to come forward, the British government repeated calls for tech companies to give police and intelligence services access to encrypted messages exchanged by terrorism suspects. Masood used the messaging service WhatsApp just before he began his attack. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Sunday that such services must not 'provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.' Tech companies have strongly resisted previous calls to create back-doors into encrypted messaging, arguing that to do so would compromise the secure communications underpinning everything from shopping to tax returns to online banking. Rudd is due to hold a previously scheduled meeting with internet companies on Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman, James Slack, said tech firms 'should be helping us more' to prevent terrorism. 'The ball is now in their court,' he said. Slack said that if agreement was not reached with the companies, the government 'rules nothing out,' including legislation. Meanwhile, the families of the dead and injured set about the difficult task of going on with their lives. The family of an American victim expressed gratitude Monday for the kindness of strangers as they insisted some good would come from the tragedy. A dozen members of Kurt W. Cochran's family gathered to face the media, sharing their shock and sense of loss. Cochran, from Utah, was on the last day of a European trip celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary when he was killed on Westminster Bridge. Cochran's wife, Melissa, suffered a broken leg and rib and a cut head, but is steadily improving. The family offered profuse thanks to first responders, British and American authorities and people who had sent notes, prayer and donations. 'Last night we were speaking as a family about all this, and it was unanimous that none of us harbor any ill will or harsh feelings towards this,' said Sarah McFarland, Melissa Cochran's sister. 'So we love our brother. We love what he brought to the world, and we feel like that this situation is going to bring many good things to the world.' ___ Jonathan Shenfield contributed to this story.