The main winter storm has now pushed out of Georgia, leaving a parting gift of two more inches of snow Wednesday night from Macon north. Winter storm warnings will remain in effect until 1 p.m. Thursday because of the chance for more light snow wrapping around the back end of the system.
The storm Georgians have been waiting for is here, and meteorologists say it will be even worse than expected. The Interstate 20 cor Gov. Nathan Deal is continuing to urge Georgians to stay off the roads Wednesday. Speaking at a noon press conference at the state Capitol, he said his main concern about the weather is that Georgians will think the winter storm moving through the state has peaked and will leave their homes.
Forecasters say large parts of north Georgia could be coated with ice from an approaching winter storm. Freezing rain and sleet threaten a large part of the state, from Atlanta's northern suburbs to the mountains in the northwest and northeast.
Forecasters warn that an arctic air mass combined with moisture approaching Georgia could set the stage for freezing rain and sleet for much of the state. The National Weather Service projects that rain and sleet could develop late Thursday night into Friday morning.
Temperatures are expected to plunge into the mid-20s early Wednesday in metro Atlanta, while a freeze watch will cover several counties in south Georgia. In the north Georgia mountains, temperatures are expected to fall into the teens.
Some school systems in north Georgia were delaying the start of classes Friday morning amid fears of some ice on roads and highways from a winter storm that blasted other areas of the South. Forecasters at the National Weather Service said black ice would be the main concern early Friday, particularly on bridges and overpasses.
State road crews are preparing for a long, cold night in north Georgia. Continued rain and falling temperatures will mean snow for areas north of Atlanta and Athens. Freezing temperatures will extend south to the Macon area. Forecasters and the state transportation department are warning drivers to watch out for black ice Thursday night and early Friday morning.
Cold air is expected to surge into Georgia this weekend as an arctic front moves into the state. Temperatures Saturday are expected to drop from the 40s in the morning to the 30s by late afternoon in much of Georgia.