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Officials urge caution on roads, but most clear of ice

POSTED: January 3, 2014 8:11 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Jimmy Adams returns to his car from a downtown Gainesville frame shop in drizzling rain.

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8 a.m. update: The Department of a Transportation is monitoring conditions, but crews have finished actively battling snow and ice.

DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said they will continue treating patches of black ice as needed.

The Hall County Sheriff's Office warned at about 7:30 a.m. of a possible slick spot at John Morrow Parkway and Washington Street. Side roads that see less traffic may still have ice, the office reported.

6:15 a.m. update: The Department of Transportation warned of patchy black ice in several mountain counties in Northeast Georgia early this morning.

Crews were working in Dawson, Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun, Towns, Union and White counties, according to DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope.

A six-mile stretch of Ga. 52 from Ga. 183 past Amicalola Falls in Dawson was impassable as of 6:15 a.m. 

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The coldest weather of the season is expected to settle in the area today and, despite a slight weekend warming, linger through much of next week.

Flurries were reported in Gainesville, and the Georgia Department of Transportation said heavy snow was falling in Dawson, Towns, Union and Rabun counties Thursday night.

Hazardous conditions were found on Ga. 136, Ga. 53 and Ga. 400 in Dawson County, Ga. 2 at Young Harris in Towns County, Ga. 180 near Suches and Ga. 325 near Nottley Dam, both in Union County, and Ga. 2 west of Clayton in Rabun County, said DOT’s District 1 spokeswoman Teri Pope.

DOT was also monitoring conditions throughout the night in Dawson, Habersham and Lumpkin counties, she said.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory warning of “icy roads and light snow” until 7 a.m. today. The advisory said hazardous road conditions because of black ice and light snow were possible north of a Carrollton-to-Jefferson line.

Accumulations could range from a trace to a half inch, the weather service said.

“Rapidly falling temperatures while the roadways are still wet” could cause slick spots, the advisory said, as temperatures fell into the upper teens or lower 20s overnight.

“Wind chills also will be very cold,” the weather service noted, as low as 5 degrees with northwest winds of 10 to 20 mph and gusts of up to 35 mph.

The weather service forecast for Gainesville-Hall County also called for a strong chance of rain and snow Sunday night.

“A cold air mass is going to settle over much of Georgia, bringing us below-normal temperatures,” said Nikole Listemaa with the agency’s Peachtree City office.

The high temperature today is expected to be in the mid-30s, but the air will feel much colder because of winds gusting up to 20 mph. The low tonight could drop to about 20.

A slight warming trend is expected to develop over the weekend, with the mercury peaking at 49 on Sunday, “ahead of another cold front,” Listemaa said.

“Then, we’ll cool down again behind that front into early next week, where we’re back again with highs in the 30s.”

And next week could get especially bone-chilling at times, with overnight lows in the middle to low teens. The highest temperature in the weather service’s outlook over the next week is 41 on Thursday.

Conditions should remain mostly dry through the period, however, with the biggest chance for rain and snow Sunday night.

While high winds will mean a serious need to bundle up outdoors, they “also will help with some of the drying,” Listemaa said.

A wind advisory issued Thursday by the weather agency was set to end at 4 this morning.

The agency also issued a “hazardous weather outlook” for North and Middle Georgia, saying “there is some potential for light freezing rain” across extreme Northeast Georgia on Saturday night into Sunday.

“A rain and snow mix is possible across portions of North and Central Georgia Sunday night into Monday as a strong cold front moves through the region,” according to the advisory.

“A bitterly cold air mass looks to settle across the Southeast behind the frontal boundary and temperatures from 15 to 20 degrees or more below normal will be possible by Tuesday.”



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