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Snow chance? No way, forecasters say

Cold, dry weekend ahead after day of heavy rain

POSTED: December 18, 2009 11:07 p.m.

Don’t start planning your day playing in the snow just yet.

The possibility of snow showers — and light accumulation — evaporated late Friday as the low-pressure system that produced heavy rain Friday moved out of the area faster than National Weather Service forecasters predicted.

Today will be cold and blustery, but dry, said Mike Leary, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

"The low is moving out pretty quickly, so the rain will end (Friday)," Leary said. "There no possibility right now for precipitation (today)."

The high today will be about 40 degrees. Overnight temperatures will dip below freezing, especially in higher elevation areas north of Gainesville. Leary said some icing on bridges and overpasses is possible.

"That’s probably the biggest concern right now," he said.

Friday was a cold, rainy day. By late Friday evening, 1.75 inches of rain had been recorded at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville, according to the weather service Web site.

A flood watch for most of North and Middle Georgia was expected to expire overnight, leaving no active watches or warnings in the Gainesville area.

But the weather service issued winter storm warnings from the Carolinas to New Jersey. Forecasters expected up to 20 inches of snow through late tonight in the Washington metro area and the mountains of southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia.

The Georgia Department of Transportation isn’t expecting any problems with the weather system. Crews haven’t been put on alert for snowy or icy conditions, said Mohamed Arafa, a spokesman for the department.

"We always monitor the forecast," he said. "But we haven’t heard anything from the weather service. If we believe there will be some problems, we’ll put our crews on alert. We haven’t done that yet."

The sun will finally return Sunday, but temperatures will remain cold with lows just below freezing each morning through Tuesday. The next chance of rain returns Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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