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Below-freezing temperatures expected by end of the week
Wil Owen shelves fire logs Tuesday evening at Chase Hardware on Thompson Bridge Road just in time for the upcoming cold weather. Overnight temperatures are expected to reach in the lower 30s starting Thursday night.

Ready or not, overnight freezing temperatures are expected to arrive by the end of the week.

According to the National Weather Service, tonight’s low should be in the low 40s and by Saturday the overnight lows are predicted to drop to 31 degrees.

Just as the warmer weather is disappearing, now is the time when many retailers expect to see more of their cold-weather supplies disappearing from the shelves.

Local retailer Rocky Pirkle says that his shelves are stocked with everything from fireplace grates and rock salt to propane tanks and fuel.

“We haven’t seen more people than usual coming in to purchase (cold-weather items) yet,” said Pirkle, owner of Chase Hardware on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.

“Things will probably pick up (this week) because people tend to wait until the last minute to get what they need.”

Fire safety officials warn residents to be vigilant as the winter weather sets in and they gear up to burn the year’s first fire in their fireplace or wood-burning stove.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, the build-up of creosote — the brown, or black residue left in chimneys after a fire — causes around 25 percent of home heating fires.

To prevent the build up of creosote, chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist. Individuals using space heaters should also follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and follow spacing guidelines to prevent surrounding materials from igniting, the association warns.

As the temperature continues to drop, the Georgia Department of Transportation is asking residents to do their part to keep roadways safe by turning off automatic sprinkler systems that run overnight.

“Sprinkler systems that are left on overnight can create a hazardous condition for motorists the next morning. Every year we see accidents caused by icy spots formed when water from sprinkler systems gets onto the roadway,” said Todd McDuffie, DOT northeast district maintenance engineer.

“Spray from the sprinkler is blown onto the road or water drains onto the road. Black ice is formed and ice develops creating a hazard for motorists.”

DOT officials also warn motorists to be on the lookout for icy on the roads anytime temperatures drop below freezing, especially during the early morning hours.

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