Foreboding forecast has Cobb residents holing up, bracing for nasty weather
by Nikki Wiley
February 11, 2014 06:37 PM | 3490 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 Alexa North finds some thin shelves on the bread isle at the Kroger on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta, but the store was among those that got a truck in Tuesday. <br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Alexa North finds some thin shelves on the bread isle at the Kroger on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta, but the store was among those that got a truck in Tuesday.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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KENNESAW — Grocery stores across Cobb were crawling with activity Tuesday as wary shoppers filled their carts with storm-ready foods and store employees rushed to keep items on the shelves.

Forecasts call for freezing rain, sleet and ice accumulation of up to a half-inch this week. Cobb is under a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service until 1 p.m. Thursday.

Power outages are possible, said John Kraft, spokesman for Georgia Power.

Though the utility trims trees year-round to curb the possibility of falling limbs taking down power lines, much of the impact of the weather will be left up to Mother Nature.

“There’s certainly things we can do to prepare, but that does not mean we will not be impacted by outages because of the ice,” Kraft said.

Georgia Power opened its storm center Monday, Kraft said, and called home crews who traveled to Pennsylvania to help with the aftermath of a storm in that state.

With icy roads a near certainty, utilities warning of possible power outages and images of gridlocked roads still fresh in their minds, some Cobb residents aren’t taking any chances.

David Varner was preparing to hunker down for the next few days on Tuesday at a Publix near the intersection of Old Highway 41 and Barrett Parkway. Pushing a cart containing snack foods, hot dogs, a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine, Varner said he’s not planning on going anywhere for the next few days.

He jokingly said he’s getting ready for an “ice party.”

Two weeks ago, Varner spent six hours traveling to his home west of Kennesaw Mountain from his office near the Big Chicken. His wife was stranded for two days in Alpharetta.

“I’m just trying to play it safe,” Varner said. “I’m going to do the work-from-home thing.”

Joan Hagan, also of Kennesaw, bought a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs at the Publix store on Tuesday.

“I’m very cautious about going out,” Hagan said.

It’s shoppers like these who kept grocery stores in metro Atlanta buzzing with activity Tuesday. At the Publix on Old Highway 41, shelves holding fruit, milk, eggs, bread and meats were half full as employees busily moved throughout the store restocking to meet demand.

Publix stores are busy throughout north Georgia from Cartersville to Newnan and from Villa Rica to Augusta, said Brenda Reid, spokeswoman for Publix.

The story is the same at Kroger stores across Cobb.

“Kroger is experiencing more customer traffic prior to the winter weather event,” said Glynn Jenkins, spokesman for the grocery chain. “Kroger customers are purchasing household staples such as bread, eggs, milk, bottled water, hot cereals, soups, snacks and ingredients to make stews and chili.”

When snow paralyzed metro Atlanta two weeks ago, truckers weren’t immune to traffic nightmares and that had an impact on store shelves.

Six drivers for Forest Park-based General Produce Co. were stranded on Atlanta area highways for between 24 and 36 hours, said George Wiley, business development manager for the wholesale company that serves Kroger and other supermarkets across the state, including some in Cobb.

Panic buyers tend to overreact, he said, and some popular items are likely to be out of stock.

“The first day back after the storm, orders can be taken from stores and some deliveries can be made by our company but some items will be out of stock because we did not receive any in-bound deliveries during the storm also,” Wiley said, noting the blizzard that hit the Northeast has also impacted the wholesaler’s supplies. “It will take several days to fill the pipeline after the snow has long melted.”

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