Too late for a white Christmas and too early to cause problems for New Year’s Eve revelers, a wintry mix dusted portions of Northeast Georgia on Wednesday evening.
As of 10 p.m., light snow or sleet accumulations on grassy areas were reported in Hall, White, Banks, Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
A forecast updated late in the evening called for the mix of sleet, snow and rain to continue through the night, but wasn’t expected to cause any problems on area roads, according to meteorologist Kent McMullen. Accumulations of up to half an inch were possible on grassy and elevated surfaces around the region, he said.
Temperatures were expected to hover around 34-35 degrees overnight, according to McMullen.
For today, rain is expected to taper off throughout the day and some sunshine could even peek through the clouds, he said.
A sudden outburst of sleet caught many Hall County residents off guard Wednesday afternoon, followed by the wintry mix and bursts of snow later in the evening.
The wintry mix was spawned from a developing low-pressure system across the southern Mississippi River Valley that spread moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into North and Central Georgia, according to a special weather statement from the weather service.
According to weather forecasts, that should be the only occurrence for the rest of the week.
The high today is expected to be around 47 degrees and the low is expected to be around 39 degrees. No additional precipitation is expected tonight for holiday travelers and roadways should be dry, McMullen said.
In addition to being the first day of the new year, Friday will also bring the peak temperatures for the remainder of the week. New Year’s Day is expected to bring decreasing clouds and high temperatures around 50 degrees, with a low around 27 degrees.
On Saturday, Hall County residents can expect the weather to be sunny with a high of 42 degrees. By Sunday, the cloudy skies are expected to return, while the high will hold steady at 42 degrees.
Although the sleet caught most drivers off guard Wednesday, neither the Georgia Department of Transportation nor the Gainesville-Hall County 911 call center reported any issues related to the sudden change in weather conditions.
According to AAA, drivers should prepare for winter weather beforehand by having your vehicle’s electrical system, brakes, tires, exhaust system, windshield wipers and heating and cooling system inspected by a certified mechanic. Drivers should also be sure to equip their vehicle with a "winter driving kit" that includes items like a bag of salt or cat litter, small snow shovel, traction mats, flashlight, ice scraper, blanket and warning flares.
The agency also recommends that drivers keep their gas tank at least half filled to help prevent the gas line from freezing.
Should a driver encounter a slippery patch in the road and the tires begin to spin or skid, AAA recommends removing one’s foot from the gas until traction is regained — however, the brakes should not be applied. The agency also says that drivers shouldn’t use cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces like ice, snow or sand.
Times Senior Content Editor Edie Rogers contributed to this story.