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Baby, it’s warm (and rainy) outside

One week after record cold temperatures, balmy weather returns to Georgia

POSTED: December 5, 2013 9:00 p.m.

One week after the coldest Thanksgiving since the early 1900s, temperatures continue to break records — in the other extreme.

Thursday’s low temperature of 62 in Athens was a record, said forecaster Alex Gibbs with the National Weather Service, topping the previous warm low of 59 in 1912.

Patchy fog, periodic rain and cloudy skies have settled in much of Georgia and is here to stay for the next few days.

“I think it’s just going to be a really bad winter,” said Hall County resident Carol Slaughter. “The weather patterns are all crazy.”

The National Weather Service has forecast rain for today with a chance of isolated thunderstorms, particularly between 7-10 p.m.

Rain will continue through the weekend and into Monday. There’s a slight chance of strong to severe thunderstorms, particularly tonight and Sunday night, though Gibbs said any severe weather is more likely to occur in western Georgia.

The warmer temperatures, though, are sticking around for only one more day. It will cool down slightly this weekend, and colder temperatures will blow in next week.

“Saturday, Sunday and Monday we’re talking about highs in the 50s,” Gibbs said, adding overnight lows would only be in the 40s. “Then on Tuesday, the cold front finally pushes through.”

As Gibbs explained it, a strong weather system is currently moving through the Midwestern U.S. Georgia is caught between the cold front coming from the west and another front that pushed through previously.

“When you’re in-between, you’re in something called the warm sector,” he said. Warm air and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is ushered in to the region, leading to the current rainy weather.

The good news is the recent fogginess should dissipate with the rain; Gibbs said that rain helps “scour out” the fog.

The foggy conditions and wet roads can lead to a rise in car accidents, according to Capt. Scott Cagle, spokesman for Hall County Fire & Emergency Services.

“I believe most of the vehicle accidents can be avoided if people slow their speeds and make sure they are not following the vehicle in front of them too closely,” Cagle said.

He added that in fog, drivers should use both windshield wipers and the defroster.

Gainesville Police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said rear-end collisions have been the frequent complaints in recent days.

“With heavy dense fog and drizzle in the forecast, it’s important to leave adequate distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you,” he said.

“And, when using your headlights, always use low-beam and not high-beam,” Cagle added. “Fog will reflect the light back into your eyes.”

As far as a possible white Christmas forecast, Gibbs said it’s too soon to predict that possibility.

“Our forecast goes through Dec. 13,” he said. “But I will say we are seeing some major cold air going on (elsewhere).”



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