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Authorities prepare for possible wintry precipitation in parts of North Georgia
Storms could bring winter weather Wednesday
A Gainesville Public Works crew readies sand and salt spreaders Tuesday afternoon at its Alta Vista Road shop in preparation for possible icy roads.

Gainesville and Hall County public works crews spent Tuesday mobilizing for possible winter weather.

“We are in the process of preparing trucks — attaching blades, putting spreader boxes in the back, making sure that spreader motors are running,” Gainesville Public Works Director David Dockery said.

Gainesville Police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said the department passed out traction devices to go over patrol car tires in case of any inclement weather in the coming days.

“If we were to be hit with inclement weather, we would utilize our spare vehicles or secondary vehicles,” Holbrook said. “They have special tires that are put on them.”

The special tires allow for better traction in icy conditions.

Hall County Fire Services said its spare fleet will be placed at stations around the county.

“We’re kind of in a wait-and-see approach right now to monitor conditions and respond accordingly,” Hall County Fire Services Capt. Zachary Brackett said.

In Hall, road maintenance crews have placed key equipment around the county, said Ken Rearden, public works and public utilities director.

Efforts also have included “making sure all vehicles are fueled (and) placing spreaders and plows on trucks,” Rearden said

The Georgia Department of Transportation snow and ice-clearing crews in both Northeast and Northwest Georgia “are hooking up all snow plows to their trucks and preparing for potential response,” spokesman Mohamed Arafa said Tuesday.

Crews also were expected to spread brine, a mixed liquid of salt and water, as a pretreatment of interstates and major routes to limit ice sticking to pavement.

“Depending on the severity of the expected winter weather event, Georgia DOT will either mobilize its winter weather forces, put them on call or just respond as needed wherever the need arises in North Georgia,” Arafa said.

Hall County School District Superintendent Will Schofield said he did not anticipate changes to the school day today or Thursday, but the district was monitoring the weather just in case.

“We’ve been monitoring the weather and participating in the weather briefings,” Schofield said Tuesday afternoon. “We don’t anticipate any trouble, but we’re aware conditions can change in a hurry. So we’ve reminded all of our teachers that we would do a work-at-home day, and we have all those resources in place.”

Gainesville also is open today but monitoring conditions, according to Sarah Bell, chief academic officer for the district.

Both Hall County and Gainesville City schools typically provide at-home, online learning for winter weather days.

“We’re ready to go either way,” Schofield said. “But we certainly anticipate and hope for a normal day at school.”

The forecast for Gainesville this morning called for a slight chance of freezing rain before noon and then rain or freezing rain likely, with little to no sleet or ice accumulation, according to the National Weather Service. Tonight there is a 40 percent chance of rain or freezing rain, mainly before 9 p.m.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Hall, Forsyth and Banks counties. Banks was listed as more likely to have greater precipitation levels, as it could get up to an inch of snow and one-tenth of an inch of ice, according to the National Weather Service.

The advisory is in effect from 7 a.m. today to 1 a.m. Thursday.

Otherwise, a hazardous weather outlook calls for wintry precipitation this afternoon and tonight north of a line from Summerville to Dawsonville to Helen, according to the weather agency. Hall, Lumpkin, White, Banks and Forsyth were among the counties in that outlook.

Wintry precipitation is possible again Friday night through 2 p.m. Saturday, with northern and north-central Georgia having the best chance for accumulation. See the agency's up-to-date forecast here.

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