Schools, Government Delay Opening Due To Threat Of Black Ice

Dec 10, 2018

Update: For residents north of I-20, black ice could be a problem heading into Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has warned below freezing temperatures and precipitation on roads could make for a hazardous commute. 

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state offices closed until 10 a.m. Tuesday. Atlanta city government and Atlanta Public Schools followed suit.

Other metro area school systems and governments in Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Paulding counties also announced they would delay opening.

Cold temperatures, wind and precipitation brought freezing rain and ice to North Georgia overnight Saturday and Sunday. Light snow with additional accumulation of 1 inch or less continues to be possible, except above 3000 ft where 1 to 2 inches of snow are possible through noon Monday.


 

Keith Stellman, meteorologist in charge, said the potential for ice raises some concerns.

"When you start talking ice, you start talking power outages,” Stellman said. “And so those are the things you have to start to, at least plan for, doesn't mean we're going to have them. It is going to be windy so any ice on trees could cause some sporadic power outages."

He said the likelihood for a rain-snow mix increases Sunday night into Monday morning, which could affect commuters. Though the forecast is showing precipitation, Stellman said the jury is still out on exactly how much rain or frozen precipitation the northeast area could see.

Supplies are stockpiled, brine is ready, crews are on call and the snow-removal fleet has expanded, GDOT said Friday night in a news release. The department stands ready to deploy more than 385 snow removal units,  the release stated.

“Our number one goal is to treat the interstates and state routes and keep them safe and passable, especially for emergency vehicles," GDOT Director of Emergency Operations Bryan Haines said.

GDOT posted on its Facebook page the interstate and route prioritization map so residents can estimate when roads would be cleared.

As confidence for a winter weather event increases for the weekend, Stellman said people should keep an eye on the forecast because it could change for the better or worst.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a colder and "wetter-than-average" winter season for Georgia. Colder temperatures mixed with rain mean there are higher chances for black ice to form on bridges, overpasses and roadways throughout the state.