Temperatures will be unseasonably cold for the next few days, but much of Northeast Georgia still is relieved after a winter storm that could have been worse.
According to National Weather Service forecaster Stephen Konarik, expect the below-average cold to continue through the early part of the week.
While the temperature in Gainesville hovered around a low of 17 reached at 9 a.m. Sunday, Konarik said Blairsville reached a frigid 9 degrees. Add in the wind chill factor and walkers gathered for the Meredith Emerson memorial hike contended with morning temperatures that felt like zero degrees.
Normal temperatures for Gainesville at this time of year are highs in the 50s and lows in the mid-30s, Konarik said.
Sunday’s high in Gainesville was 33 degrees reached at 4:08 p.m., according to weather service forecaster Mike Griesinger. He said expected Sunday night to be a cold repeat of Saturday night, with a low of 18 degrees.
Today should be sunny with a high of 43 and a low of 28, Griesinger said. There is a 30 percent chance of rain Tuesday, but temperatures in the 40s should turn all precipitation into rain, he said.
But the precipitation that fell across Northeast Georgia much of the day Saturday was snow, leaving officials worried that icing conditions could set in overnight.
Though the breezy conditions made it seem even colder Saturday night, it likely prevented melting snow from becoming an icy mess.
Mark McKinnon of the Georgia Department of Communications said there were "very, very few" reports of any icy patches Saturday night and Sunday morning across Northeast Georgia. He said the few reported icy patches were insignificant and of the type that normally happen when the temperature drops.
McKinnon credited the wind with drying off the wet roads before they could freeze over.
"We had a very, very uneventful night," he said, adding that DOT workers called in for storm duty had gone home Sunday and the department had resumed normal operations.
An operator at Hall County dispatch said officials had no problems overnight on local streets, either.
It seemed uneventful for power companies, too. Bonnie Jones, Jackson EMC director of public relations and communications, said they had no weather-related outages.
Sunday morning temperatures fell into the freezing range even on the Gulf Coast, where Mobile, Ala., and Gulfport, Miss., both hit 28 degrees, according to weather service Web sites. By midmorning, thermometers had risen to 36 at Mobile. New Orleans had a low of 32.
New Orleans had put its freeze plan into effect to provide temporary shelter for the homeless for Saturday and Sunday nights.
On Saturday, snow fell as far south as southwestern Mississippi, with totals of as much as 3 inches, although the ground was too warm to allow it to accumulate. It was that area’s first snowfall since 2001, the National Weather Service said.
All five runways at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained open during Saturday’s sleet and snow, but Delta Air Lines Inc. canceled about 280 flights, spokeswoman Betsy Talton said. AirTran Airways canceled about 80, and other flights were delayed by the need to deice wings, spokesman Tad Hutcheson said.
As much as 5 inches of snow fell in Alabama. The state’s last major winter storm dropped 16 inches in March 1993.
The clash of warm and cold air helped produce two tornadoes along Florida’s west coast late Saturday afternoon, the weather service said. No injuries and little damage were reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.