The year 2010 blew in cold.
So cold that one Buckhead weather station recorded temperatures in the teens for nine of the first dozen days of the year.
So cold that in Sandy Springs, some trucks stayed inside.
So cold that a Brookhaven tennis teacher reported that even tennis balls lost their bounce.
“The cold changes this game,” said Deborah Lee, head tennis pro for the Capital City Club. “When it’s windy and cold, I have to teach a different style of play. The balls do not bounce as much.”
On the whole, Georgians coped with the unfamiliar chill. Work still had to be done. Dogs still had to be walked.
In Brookhaven, the day after ice closed schools and slicked roads, former Russians Tanya Ostrovksy and her next-door neighbor, Natalia Jamison, took their dogs, Vladimir and Ringo, for a stroll along Cartecay Drive.
“This is nothing like winter in Russia,” said Ostrovsky, who grew up in Moscow, but settled in Georgia 20 years ago.
As temperatures hunkered down in the teens, city work crews moved into action. Streets had to be cleared, sand spread on slick spots and streetlights repaired.
Firefighters broke out equipment to thaw frozen hydrants and prepared their engines for runs over slick streets.
“We have to prepare the trucks for traction,” said Glenn Barry, a firefighter in Atlanta Fire Station 27, in Buckhead. “We have gotten notifications from the fire department to dress in layers, to stay hydrated and to take frequent breaks.”
And there’s always something that needs doing, cold weather or not.
“Typically, the winter months are not much slower than the summer months but the type of work being completed is different,” said City of Sandy Springs Media and Communications Manager Tisa Moore. “There is not as much construction work that takes place in the winter as there is in the summer months but we take the winter months to get ahead of our inventory task and our preventative maintenance tasks.”
That means scheduling work that suits the weather.
“We try not to dig into the ground too much and we try to have tasks that are shorter-duration tasks to handle when the temperatures start getting below the freezing mark,” she said. “In situations where we have ice or snow or rain, we try to schedule work that can be completed without having to be outside, unless there is an emergency that requires us to be outside such as a signal being knocked down, or changing red bulbs at an intersection.”
And for people who work outside, the cold just comes with the territory.
“Everyone at work here has to understand that it’s our career to work in brutal heat in the summer and bitter cold in the winter,” said David Sweeting, operations manager for the landscaping firm Arbor-Nomics.
“Thankfully we catch a little bit of a break every once in a while since our trucks can’t operate below 30 degrees. But it’s still hard. With the weather now, my hands get frozen sometimes and I can’t really feel my face, but it’s all part of my job. I just dress in layers, grit my teeth, and deal with it.”
–Amanda Wolkin, MaryLiz Cronk, Joe Earle and Phil Mosier contributed to this report.