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Snow, ice in Thursdays forecast
Officials warn of hazards
U.S. Postal Service carrier Harold Smith makes his way around the square in downtown Gainesville in the drizzling rain Tuesday afternoon, making his deliveries to local businesses. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

The weather pendulum continues to swing in North Georgia.

This past weekend brought unseasonably warm temperatures, which was followed by days of rain, and now there’s a chance for snow and black ice on Thursday.

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City issued a special weather statement Tuesday calling for possible winter weather across North Georgia on Thursday due to a strong low pressure system.

“A deep cold air mass will begin to spread into the area from west to east Thursday afternoon and evening,” the statement says. “As a result, there is a potential for rain to change over to snow ... despite warm grounds from recent unseasonable warm temperatures.”

That system could result in light snow accumulation for parts of North Georgia.

Otherwise, “there is a potential for patches of black ice developing on bridges and overpasses from late Thursday evening through mid-Friday morning, when temperatures fall below freezing,” according to the weather statement.

Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell, who also serves as Hall’s emergency management director, said he is more concerned about ice than snow.

“Snow is inconvenient, but ice ... can turn into some major issues,” such as power outages, he said.

Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s District 1, which includes Hall, said Tuesday no preparations for bad weather were being made yet.

“We will continue to watch the forecast and will plan accordingly,” she said.

She said she is hoping the recent warm temperatures will prevent any accumulations.

“Bridges could be hazardous Thursday afternoon and overnight if the forecast holds,” Pope said. “Bridges are always our first concern and priority ... (they) get much colder more quickly and hold the cold longer than the ground and roadways.”

She added: “The porous asphalt is great now, for rain drainage, but makes ice removal difficult. Our snow plow blades can only scrape the surface to remove the ice."

Rain is still in the forecast through Thursday. The high temperature on Thursday is expected to be 48, but winds could gust up to 25 mph.

According to the National Weather Service, Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville has received nearly 2 inches of rain since midnight Sunday.

Bad weather has prompted the earlier-than-planned closing of Montrose Drive from Holly Drive to Woodland Drive in Gainesville.

"We are planning on replacing a culvert and we closed (Montrose) a little bit early due to ... rain saturating the embankment," said Stan Aiken, senior civil engineer in Gainesville’s public works department.

"As a safety precaution, we closed that small portion of the road."

The road will be closed until further notice, officials said in a road closure notice issued Tuesday.

Rain certainly will help quench the region’s lingering drought and could benefit Lake Lanier.

The lake stood at 1,059.18 feet above sea level Tuesday night, the highest it has been since Nov. 15, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Lanier.

Winter full pool is 1,070 feet.


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