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Winter storm warning issued for Northeast Georgia counties
UNG closes Blue Ridge, Dahlonega campuses in response
Weather alert

Parts Northeast Georgia, including Dawson County, should expect snow and ice accumulations to end the week, according to a winter storm warning issued Thursday by the U.S. National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Officials said snow accumulations of between two and four inches and light ice accumulations are expected in the mountains of northeast Georgia from 7 p.m. on Thursday evening through 7 p.m. on Friday. 

Affected areas will likely include parts of Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Towns, Union and White Counties.

Accumulations are expected mainly at elevations above 1,500 feet, but winter storms and freezing temperatures could occur and impact travel during the storm at lower elevations, the warning notes. So residents in the affected areas should plan on encountering slippery road conditions if they venture out.  

"Subfreezing temperatures following the storm on Friday night could cause slippery road conditions into the weekend," the warning said. "If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."

Dawson County residents are urged to visit the Facebook pages of the Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services and Dawson County Sheriff's Office for updates on the weather warning. 

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University of North Georgia campuses in the region will be "physically closed" on Friday, Jan. 8, in response to the winter storm warning and possible snow and ice, said Sylvia Carson, a spokeswoman for the university. The closures affect only the Blue Ridge and Dahlonega campuses, she said.

"Students may still access UNG services and offices on those campuses virtually," Carson said. "We will continue to monitor weather conditions and announce any further operational changes tomorrow morning (Jan. 8) via the UNG Alert system and the UNG website."

The Gainesville campus will remain physically open.

Carson encouraged students and staff to "use their best judgment about traveling" depending on their area's road conditions. 

The expected weather also pushed Free Chapel to cancel a ribbon cutting on a new church campus in Braselton, scheduled for Friday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation began treating interstates, state routes, bridges and overpasses Thursday morning in preparation for the winter weather in Northeast Georgia, officials said. 

"Crews in Northeast Georgia will monitor conditions and continue treatment overnight on bridges and roadways in Rabun, White, Towns, Lumpkin, Union, Habersham, and Dawson counties, and continue to treat through the day Friday as needed," a news release from the agency said. "Please be aware of the brine trucks in your areas, given they must travel 40 mph to properly apply the treatment. Pay attention to Georgia DOT trucks spreading materials and stay back a safe distance."

This story first appeared on the Dawson County News website. Times digital editor Thomas Hartwell contributed to this report.

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