Severe weather causes damage, delays holiday travel
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - As one flight gets off the ground, another lands safely in Chattanooga, some two hours after it was scheduled to.
"We were supposed to take off around 4:15, ended up getting on the plane around 5:00, and got off the ground, I think around 6:30," Greg Sharrock said, going over his delayed flight schedule.
Sharrock started in Colorado Thursday, heading home to North Georgia for the holidays. Snow detoured him, then heavy rain in Atlanta delayed the last leg of his trip.
"The flight up here was nutty, the plane was just up and down," said Sharrock, glad to be on the ground.
According to a spokesperson for the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, two flights out of Atlanta were diverted to Chattanooga because of limited visibility.
The roads were in no better shape.
"A lot of rain and wind, a tree was down on the southbound side in Adairsville, so very stressful out there on the roads tonight," said driver Ray Profitt, just wrapping up his shift at Groome Transportation.
Groome passengers coming from Atlanta were breathing a sigh of relief pulling into the Ringgold Road terminal.
"I'm glad I can't drive yet," said Parker Hoppens, a student from Chattanooga, "he was a good van driver though, so I felt safe, but you couldn't see 20 feet ahead of you."
"I'm glad to be here," said Jerry Kinsey, who is returning to the area from Belgium.
With shuttles running until midnight, Groome management is keeping a close eye on road conditions.
"We've lost about half an hour or so coming into Chattanooga," said Manager John Collison around 6 pm.
At last check, 11 shuttles had run from Atlanta to Chattanooga Thursday alone. Collison attributes the influx to a mix of holiday travel and those looking to avoid delays at the airport.
"We certainly wish no ill will on the airports, or for bad weather for that matter," said Collison, "but we are able to run when sometimes the airlines are not."
By air or road, the journey home for the holidays was less than merry for most.
STORM DAMAGE IN NORTH GEORGIA
According to WXIA, Channel 3's Atlanta affiliate station, a curfew is in place in Gordon County Thursday night, where a local state of emergency has been declared.
Seven people were transported to local hospitals with non life threatening injuries, after storms ripped through Gordon and Floyd Counties Thursday afternoon.
According to Georgia Power, outages stand at 10,000 in the Rome area. About 6,500 households are without power in metro Atlanta.
NGEMS reports 3,000 are without power in Gordon County, many could be without power on Friday as crews work to repair several broken power poles.