When traversing icy road areas, DOT officials urge you to ...
• Slow down and stay behind the snowplows. The road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least ten car lengths between your vehicle and snowplows or hopper spreaders.
• Do not pass. The plows are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to clear snow quickly, especially on major highways.
• Be particularly aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps.
The year’s busiest travel day finds motorists in North Georgia fighting nasty weather to reach their Thanksgiving destinations.
Area residents awoke today to frigid temperatures and scattered snow and ice on vehicles and grassy areas after a cold front moved through the state in the early morning hours. Flurries are possible through the morning before cold winds blow in and clear out the precipitation.
Georgia Department of Transportation crews began spreading salt and stone at 6:30 a.m. on Ga. 11/U.S. 129 over Blood Mountain in Union County, spokeswoman Teri Pope reported today. Crews also are in Towns, Union and White counties monitoring conditions at higher elevations and known trouble areas.
“Typically for winter weather, we make sure our equipment is ready; put the plow on the front of dump trucks,” Pope said. “We’re ready to hit the road, if the need arises.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Nikole Listemaa said temperatures are too warm for frozen precipitation to pose much of a road nuisance in most areas.
“With all the rain that’s occurred, at least for Hall County, we’re not expecting too much to stick,” Listemaa said. “Maybe in the higher elevations — maybe some. But with all this rain, the ground is so warm, so we don’t expect it to stick.”
Chad Mann of the Hall County Sheriff's Office said this morning there were no early reports of travel problems in the county.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 1 p.m. for Lumpkin, White, Dawson, Towns, Union and Fannin counties, including the cities of Dahlonega and Cleveland.
The Hall County Fire Department has taken similar precautionary measures, said Scott Cagle, Emergency Management Agency deputy director.
“As far as emergency management services, we’re keeping track of information from the National Weather Service,” Cagle said. “We make sure generators and chainsaws are up in running conditions.”
Firefighters also apply calcium chloride at the stations, to ensure snow wouldn’t impede engines from getting in and out, Cagle said.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for a cold, blustery day with winds gusting up to 40 mph and temperatures in the upper 30s. Bitter cold moves in overnight, with the mercury dropping to the low 20s in Gainesville and upper teens in the mountains. A wind advisory is in effect throughout the day.
Thanksgiving Day should be clear and cold with a high in the lower 40s, but temps should warm to near 50 by Friday when shoppers head back out on the highways.
Almost 2 inches of rain has been recorded since Tuesday morning at the NWS automated station at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville.