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Heavy rains could turn to sleet overnight, snow tomorrow
Flood watch, wind advisory in effect as wintry blast moves through area
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Before Black Friday, North Georgia might see a White Wednesday.

Tuesday's steady rain could turn to sleet overnight in Northeast Georgia and then snow on Wednesday as temperatures drop and winds pick up.

The National Weather Service forecasts calls for a 100 percent chance of rain Tuesday with a high near 44. Up to a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain is possible Tuesday.

Lows will drop overnight into the lower 30s, turning rain to sleet as it falls through the atmosphere. Less than a half-inch of accumulation is expected.

Rain, sleet and snow are likely to fall before 11 a.m. Wednesday, then turn back to just rain and sleet before ending late in the day. Wednesday night should be clear with temperatures falling into the lower 20s.

A wind advisory is in effect for Northeast Georgia throughout the day Wednesday, with gusts up to 40 mph. A flood watch remains in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Snowfall amounts of up to half-inch on grassy areas are possible Wednesday across North Georgia, with amounts up to 1 inch in higher elevations.

Thanksgiving Day should be clear and cold with a high in the lower 40s, but temps should warm to near 50 by Friday.

Georgia Department of Transportation trucks and employees are ready if inclement weather strikes North Georgia.

“We are planning on monitoring weather conditions and forecasts,” district spokeswoman Teri Pope said. There were no reports of road problems overnight, Pope said Tuesday morning.

If the weather gets dicey, crews will focus first on interstates, keeping open the outside lanes.

The district office has 6,500 tons of salt and 8,000 tons of stone at the ready to help with road clearing. In addition, up to 348 employees — 174 per 12-hour shift — can help with clearing efforts, Pope said.

“Most of our winter weather is ice, and ice is the most difficult roadway hazard to remove,” she said.

“Our roads are designed to be porous, which is great 10 months out of the year because of our typical rainfall. During winter weather, ice forms down in the crevices of the asphalt and it reforms very quickly.

“Also working against us (in Northeast Georgia) is the number of bridges — over 750 bridges and culverts. These are much colder than roads because the cold air goes all around them, so ice forms there first and reforms there very quickly.”

Charley English, director of Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security, said that even small amounts of snow and ice “can cause significant problems” in Georgia.

His agency and the National Weather Service have proclaimed Dec. 2-6 as Winter Weather Awareness Week, which “isn’t just a time to learn about severe weather,” English said.

“It’s a time to take action, such as creating a family communications plan and shopping for cold weather emergency supplies.”

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