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Snow, rain and chilly temps in the outlook for this week
Lanier topped winter full pool after last weeks rain
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Snow might appear briefly tonight then return with some vengeance later in the week.

Rain is likely today, but that could turn to snow later in the evening.

And then, all that wet stuff combined could make for some icy patches on the roads Tuesday morning, as temperatures dip just below the freezing mark, warns Matt Sena, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

The Weather Service has issued a "special weather statement" for North and Middle Georgia, including the Hall County area, saying that the weather today and early Tuesday is part of a "fast-moving low-pressure system."

"Any mixed precipitation should be light and is expected to end by late evening," says the statement. "Surface air temperatures are expected to remain above freezing during this period and relatively warm ground temperatures will result in little or no significant accumulations."

Tuesday should be nice, with sunny skies and a high near 45. But the weather begins to turn on Wednesday, as light rain creeps into the picture.

And then snow is likely by Wednesday night. A 50 percent chance of snow remains on Thursday, with a high near 38.

"There still is a whole lot of uncertainty on how strong that system will be and the exact path," Sena said Sunday. "In all likelihood, there's going to be at least some kind of a mixture of rain and wintry-type precipitation across (the Hall area)."

He recommended that "people remain alert and keep up-to-date on the latest changes in the forecast as we go through the week."

So far, North Georgia's winter has been an eventful one, beginning with a historic snowfall on Christmas Day and also marked by frigid temperatures.

And then, the area was pounded by a Jan. 10 storm that dumped some 6 to 8 inches across the area, paralyzing traffic, schools and businesses for several days. State and local governments combined spent millions clearing up roads packed with snow and ice.

Last week, more than 1.5 inches of rain fell at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville between noon Thursday and Saturday morning.

By Sunday evening, Lake Lanier was up more than half a foot since Thursday. On Saturday, it topped 1,070 feet above sea level for the first time since Aug. 25. Winter full pool is 1,070 feet.

"Through the majority of this winter, since back before Christmas, the large-scale (weather) pattern has ... had the Eastern United States in a very cold pattern and also in the main path of most of the storms," Sena said.

"We've had a noticeable winter weather season this year."

State climatologist David Stooksbury said in a Jan. 18 interview that the La Niña atmospheric pattern in place over the Southeast has held true as far as being drier, with rain gauges showing less-than-normal amounts. But bone-chilling weather has defied La Niña's typical warmer scenario.

Derailing weather predictions has been atmospheric pattern known as "Arctic oscillation," which rarely affects the Southeast.

The pattern usually lasts about two months and falls into two categories: positive and negative. Worse weather, such as frigid temperatures, accompany the negative pattern.

"In early November, we went into an extremely negative pattern and it is only in the past week that we have become slightly positive," Stooksbury said at the time. "So, right now, I'm actually expecting February and March to start acting like we would expect a La Niña winter and early spring to behave."

Sena said, "There are some indications that when this (newest) system gets through toward the middle to end of the week that the large-scale pattern is starting to shift a little."

That shift "would get us a little closer to normal (weather), if not slightly above normal, as we head into the weekend and beginning of next week."

The Weather Service is calling for sunny skies Friday through Sunday, with the high temperature nearly touching 60 on Sunday.

"Whether that pattern will continue or not is not definitive, but at least it looks like we get a period coming up here where the colder air shifts off to the East and we get back to a little more normal for Georgia."

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