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Soggy 09 gives way to bone-chilling 10
Cold stretch could bring snow by late next week
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Braving the wintry weather

Being prepared

  • Check on elderly and disabled people living alone. Make sure they are prepared for winter conditions.
  • Stock up on non-alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, hot chocolate and soup.
  • Maintain good nutrition and get plenty of rest.

Prepare your home

  • Have your furnace and wall heaters checked by a professional for safety.
  • Check all space heaters and keep them away from walls, curtains, and furniture.
  • If you have a gas heater or any gas appliances, invest in a carbon monoxide detector. (Carbon monoxide kills about 300 people in the U.S. every year.)
  • Replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and test the smoke alarms to make sure they work.
  • Check the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio.
  • When using heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater or other apparatus, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.
  • Close off unused rooms.
  • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
  • Cover windows at night.

Prepare your vehicle

  • Give your vehicle a maintenance check for tires, brakes, battery, heating and defrosting system and windshield wipers. Keep your washer fluid full of a nonfreezing solution.
  • Change the antifreeze, if needed, to protect the engine and radiator from freezing in cold temperatures.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Pack and carry a winter storm survival kit, including: blankets or sleeping bags; additional warm clothing; a flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; high-calorie, non-perishable food such as candy bars; small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking; bag of sand or cat litter; shovel; windshield scraper and brush; booster cables

If you must drive ...

  • Plan your travel.
  • Check the weather before leaving.
  • Know numbers to call and Web sites to check for road conditions.
  • Let someone know your timetable and routes.

Watch out for your pets

  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.
  • Move animals to sheltered areas when possible.
  • Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
  • Have water available; many animals can die from dehydration in winter storms.

Source: NOAA

The old year ended rainy and cold for most in North Georgia, fitting for a 2009 that was among the wettest on record throughout northern Georgia.

And the new year begins with bitter cold for the next several days, setting the stage for possible frozen precipitation next week.

Gainesville recorded about 75 inches of rain in 2009, some 20 inches above average. Atlanta, Macon and Athens also approached their record rainfall years.

The rain helped refill the state’s parched lakes and reservoirs, bringing Lake Lanier back to full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level on Oct. 14. Just a year before, the lake stood at 1,052 feet, within a few feet of the record low reached in 2007.

On Friday afternoon, the lake was at 1,070.72 feet.

Bone-chilling cold air is settling in for the next several days, driving overnight lows into the teens. A cold, windy day is forecast today, with temperatures struggling to reach the mid 30s and winds gusting to 25 mph, dropping wind chills into the single digits. Residents should take precautions by providing shelter for plants and pets and guarding against exposed water pipes freezing.

Temperatures aren’t expected to top 40 degrees until Tuesday, with overnight lows around 18 to 20 through midweek. That could leave the ground and air cold enough for snow when the next batch of precipitation arrives Thursday.

“If we can get the moisture up here, with the cold air already here, and there is not a lot of moderation expected, it does look like it could be frozen precip,” said Shirley Lamback, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Peachtree City.

Gainesville and areas to the north got a dusting of snow and sleet Wednesday.

Regional events