Thursday, 20 January 2011 18:00

Snow Storms — Headaches for Motorists, Stimulus for Industry Economy

A heavy snow storm passed through northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia January 5 through 7, originating in Arkansas. The snow storm brought heavy snow, blanketing the region in 4 to 10 inches in some areas.

The snow was followed by sleet and freezing rain January 8, 9 and 10, which made for extremely trecherous travel conditions, power outages and school cancellations in the area.

“We face a serious storm that will have an impact all across Alabama,” Governor Bob Riley said in a statement preluding the days of freezing rain. He advised motorists to stay off the roads.

A state of emergency was declared by Governors in Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama.

Kendrick Paint and Body with locations in Aiken, SC; Martinez, GA; and Augusta, GA experienced increased traffic due to storm-related damage to vehicles after being forced to shut down all three of their locations on January 8 and 10.

“The Augusta area rarely encounters closings due to inclement weather, as we rarely see snow,” said Kendrick’s Marketing Director Carson Brown. “On the rare occasion that it ‘snows’, it most likely melts prior to hitting the ground, and it usually doesn’t stick. Over the past few days (January 8 through 10), the Augusta area experienced upwards of 4+ inches. Since snow accumulation is such a rarity in the South, many businesses closed due to unsafe driving conditions.”

Auto Impact in Marietta, GA, was closed January 10 because employees could not physically get to work due to the storm.

“We were closed Monday, none of our employees could make it in to work,” said Manager Randy Bishop. “Tuesday we had a skeleton crew. Wednesday everyone made it to work and we were firing on all cylinders again.”

Due to the closed days and the lack of traffic while weather made it too dangerous to drive, Auto Impact actually saw decreased traffic for the beginning of the week of January 10.

“Most of the appointments that we had for people to drop off their vehicles for repair this week (January 10) were rescheduled for next week (January 17) because people could not get out of their neighborhoods,” said Bishop. “Adding storm damaged vehicles into the equation, looks like next week will be a busy one.”

Kendrick Paint and Body anticipated a lot more traffic the week following the storm as well.

“Many cars have been stranded on the side of the road or ditches, and the freezing and icy weather has caused many limbs to fall onto parked vehicles and cause a lot of damage,” said Brown. “The ice is starting to thaw, and we anticipate people will begin to survey the damage on their cars, prompting added tow-ins and drive-ins.”

Black and Fuller Collision in Marietta, GA, was closed January 10, 11, 12 because their employees could not make it in to work due to dangerous driving conditions.

“I expect our business will be doubled since the storm hit,” said Body Shop Manager Ike Johnson. He said they’re seeing a lot of hail damage and suspension issues from curb damage after the storm.

“We’ve been having a lot of phone calls, tow-ins and customers calling to say they would come in after the weather had cleared up a bit,” said Johnson.

Fred Poirier at Auto Impact’s second location in Dectur, GA, had issues getting parts they needed to continue working through the storm because lots of dealerships in town were closed.

“No dealerships in town were open so we won’t have any parts delivered for three days,” said Poirier, “The couple that were open aren’t delivering parts during the storm, so we had to go and pick some parts up.”

Poirier also said they were seeing a lot of cars coming in with bumper hits and scrapes — mostly damage that people can drive in with.

Sledge Body Shop in Huntsville, Alabama, was closed January 10 and 11 with only a half staff coming in on January 12. But after being closed for almost 3 whole days owner Harry Sledge feels the storm will ultimately be profitable for the shop in the long run.

“Our business traffic has been up about 40 percent since we were able to get back into the shop,” said Sledge.

Most of the damage the shop is seeing is small, front end collision damage thanks to drivers losing control on the icy roadways.

“We’ve had pretty bad storms here in 1989 and 1996, but this storm was definitely the worst I’ve seen in awhile,” said Sledge.

Kendrick Paint and Body
4180 Wheeler Rd
Martinez,GA 30907
(706) 364-3272

Auto Impact
2290 Austell Rd
Marietta, GA 30008
(770) 438-1977

Auto Impact
260 Laredo Dr
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 377-8464

Black and Fuller Collision
2165 Austell Rd, SW
Marietta, GA 30008
(770) 432-0946

Sledge Body Shop
2828 Jordan Lane NW
Huntsville, AL 35816
(256) 830-0464

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