Winter storm warning expanded; snow falls in metro Atlanta

Winter storm warning expanded; snow falls in metro Atlanta

  • Story Highlights
  • School districts canceled after-school activities and released students early.
  • Two to four inches of snow is expected in the warning area.
  • Those not under the warning are under a winter weather advisory. 

Atlanta weather radar: Where is the storm now?

School cancellations, closings and dismissals: The storyThe full list

Your neighborhood: AtlantaCobb DeKalb | Fulton | Gwinnett 

2:06 p.m.: The Atlanta University Center, which includes Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College, will be closed for the rest of the day and Saturday.

2:03 p.m.: Need evidence that roads are deteriorating in metro Atlanta? Look no further than this picture captured by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution staffer.

A Georgia Department of Transportation sign warned drivers on I-285 East after Peachtree Industrial Boulevard that it would take as long as 71 minutes to travel 6 miles. NANCY CLANTON / NANCY.CLANTON@AJC.COM

2 p.m.: State high school playoff games scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium have been postponed. Saturday’s 10 a.m. game has been postponed, too. The games will be played next weekend with details to be announced later.

1:56 p.m.: Expect a mix of rain and snow through the afternoon, Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. Anticipate a change over to all snow later this evening.

1:54 p.m.: “Fire crews are starting to respond to several reports of motor vehicle accidents with injuries as the roads have become a bit slushier due to the afternoon snowfall,” Gwinnett fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. “There have been no serious injuries or fatalities reported that I am aware of. Public Safety Officials are encouraging motorists to drive slowly and allow extra time for travel. Turn on headlights and be sure to buckle up for safety. Citizens should be weather aware throughout the weekend and adjust their plans accordingly.”

1:51 p.m.: Snow has forced the cancellation of the Symphony on the Square Concert in Marietta and the closure of Snow Mountain in Stone Mountain.

1:48 p.m.: Another wave of snow is expected across North Georgia at 9 p.m. “We will not be done with this until we head toward late tonight, early tomorrow morning,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.

1:39 p.m.: In a message to parents at a Cobb County elementary school, a principal said buses had a hard time getting to the school and asked parents to pick up their children. According to Channel 2 Action News, the parents and the children were successfully reunited. The bus had been stuck for an hour. Listen to the message in the following tweet.

1:28 p.m.: Currently, Georgia Power is reporting 352 outages affecting 29,489 customers.

1:24 p.m.: The winter storm warning will be expanded again to include Hall, Gwinnett, Jackson, Banks and Barrow counties, according to Channel 2 Action News.

1:22 p.m.: Georgia State University is closed.

1:04 p.m.: Drew Charter School in East Lake is asking parents to pick up children as soon as possible. The school will close at 1:30 p.m.

12:54 p.m.: Emory University, including Oxford College, will close at 1:30 p.m. due to deteriorating roadway conditions. All finals scheduled for after 1:30 p.m. today are canceled. Emory’s registrar will send a revised exam schedule.

12:49 p.m.: Zoo Atlanta is closing at 1 p.m.

12:46 p.m.: Fulton County offices will close at 1 p.m. Programs scheduled for Friday night have been canceled or postponed. Public safety and other essential services will continue. Crews are mobilized to provide transportation services in the city of Renaissance in south Fulton.

12:42 p.m.: Courts in DeKalb and north Fulton are closing early. The DeKalb Clerk of Superior Court's Office will close at 3 p.m. Individuals planning to come to Roswell Municipal Court at 1 p.m. should stay home and return at 9 a.m. Fri., Dec. 15. 

12:36 p.m.: Atlanta Public Schools will close one hour early. Most elementary schools will dismiss at 1:30 p.m., high school at 2:30 p.m. and middle schools at 3:05 p.m.

12:32 p.m.: Agency heads have been given the flexibility and authority to determine which offices to close or employees to release early due to wintry weather, Gov. Nathan Deal said in a tweet.

12:32 p.m.: Saturday ACT testing has been canceled in Paulding County.

12:31 p.m.: Delta is now up to 375 flight cancellations.

12:30 p.m.: All City Schools of Decatur after-school and athletic activities are canceled Friday and Saturday. “We will run normal dismissal procedures and times this afternoon,” the district said.

12:28 p.m.: All Gwinnett County Public Library branches will close at 2 p.m.  

12:27 p.m.: The cities of Alpharetta and Renaissance are closing at 1 p.m. Alpharetta also canceled evening recreation activities and anything scheduled beyond noon Saturday.

12:24 p.m.: Hall County Schools will be closing one hour early. All extra-curricular activities, including practices, games, and other events, are canceled through noon Saturday. A decision on Saturday evening activities will be announced after noon Saturday.

12:16 p.m.: DeKalb County will dismiss elementary schools at noon, high schools at 12:45 p.m. and middle schools at 1:30 p.m. All staff will be released at 2 p.m. All extracurricular activities for Friday evening and Saturday morning are canceled.

12:06 p.m.: DeKalb and Gwinnett schools are releasing students early.

11:47 a.m.: Fulton County will close all schools early, district spokeswoman Donna Lowry said. Dismissal will occur at the following times: high schools – 12:30 p.m.; middle schools: 1:15 p.m.; and elementary schools – 2 p.m.

11:44 a.m.: Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton and Heard counties are part of the expanded winter storm warning, too.

11:40 a.m.: Non-essential personnel at Georgia Tech can leave. Today's exam schedule will continue as planned.

11:39 a.m.: A winter storm warning was expanded about 11:35 a.m. and now includes the following counties: Bartow; Carroll; Cherokee; Cobb; Dawson; Douglas; Fannin; Floyd; Gilmer; Gordon; Haralson; Lumpkin; Murray; Paulding; Pickens; Polk; Towns; Union; and White.

11:37 a.m.: All University of North Georgia campuses are closed.

11:36 a.m.: DeKalb County offices, libraries, senior centers and recreation centers will close at 1 p.m.

11:32 a.m.: Woodward Academy will close at 11:45 a.m. All afternoon and evening activities are canceled.

11:24 a.m.: All Cobb County government offices are closing at noon.

11:13 a.m.: A school bus crash on I-20 West at Moreland Avenue was weather-related, Atlanta police told Channel 2 Action News.

11:12 a.m.: It just started snowing in Clayton County.

11:09 a.m.: Snow is falling in downtown Atlanta and Midtown.

Trina Cloud, who works security, protects her face from the snow and sleet mix falling at Mercedes- Benz Stadium, where Georgia high school football is underway. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

10:58 a.m.: Snow is falling at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to Channel 2 Action News.

10:57 a.m.: Forysth County Schools is releasing students early. All after-school activities are canceled today and Saturday.

10:51 a.m.: Snow in many areas of far North Georgia is already exceeding 2 to 3 inches, and snow totals could increase to more than 4 inches.

“So the snow is falling faster than it is melting,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

Projected snowfall amounts remain at 2 to 4 inches in metro Atlanta. In Kennesaw, snow is still under 1 inch, Channel 2 reported.

10:49 a.m.: A Rockdale County school bus was involved in a crash on I-20 West at Moreland Avenue, according to Channel 2 Action News.

10:35 a.m.: Douglas schools spokeswoman Portia Lake just sent this email:

“Due to worsening weather conditions, middle and high school students will be released at noon today. Elementary students will be released at 1:00. DCSS buses will run normal routes at these earlier times. Thank you for your patience.”

10:28 a.m.: The Cherokee County School District is starting early dismissal immediately. All parents may pick up students now. Student drivers will be dismissed at 10:30 a.m. Here is the bus schedule: 11 a.m. high schools, 11:45 a.m. middle schools and 12:30 p.m. elementary schools. After-school programs are canceled.

10:15 a.m.: Marietta City Schools are closing two hours early. Marietta Middle and High schools will release students at 12:30 p.m.; elementary schools, 1:15 p.m.;  Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, 2:00 p.m.; and Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, 2 p.m. School buses will run the normal routes following the early dismissal time.

10:14 a.m.: All Bartow County school bus routes have stopped. The district is asking parents to pick up their children now.

10:07 a.m.: All Cherokee County School District extra-curricular activities are canceled Friday and Saturday.

9:55 a.m.: Kennesaw State will close all campuses at at 12:30 p.m. and reopen at 10 a.m. Saturday.

9:41 a.m.: Cobb County will dismiss high school students at 11:30 a.m., middle school students at 12:30 p.m. and elementary school students at 1:30 p.m. The Cobb Department of Transportation is checking reports of slick spots in northwest Cobb.

9:30 a.m.: Recap: Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Fayette, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Hall, Heard, north Fulton, south Fulton, Troup and other counties are under a winter weather advisory until 7 a.m. Saturday.

Those under the advisory “could pick up a dusting up to 1 to 2 inches of snow,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

9:28 a.m.: Recap: The following counties are under a winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Saturday: Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Douglas, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Haralson, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Towns, Union and White.

Those under the warning “could be looking at the potential for some bursts of snow, pockets of 1 to 3 inches, maybe some isolated 4, over 4 inches in some spots across far North Georgia in the mountains,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

9:17 a.m.: Fannin County’s emergency manager told Channel 2 Action News that 2 to 4 inches of snow has fallen in the southern part of the county. Several roads have become hazardous.

9:10 a.m.: The Paulding County School District just posted this on its website:

“NOTICE: Paulding County school officials have been consulting with the National Weather Service, local law enforcement and local weather officials throughout last evening and this morning. Out of an abundance of caution due to the rapidly changing conditions, students at all Paulding County middle and high schools will be released at 11:30 a.m. today and students at elementary schools will be released at 12:30 p.m. ASP/Learning Bridge is canceled. All evening and Saturday activities are canceled as well.”

 

9:04 a.m.: Flights have been canceled due to the bad weather, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kelly Yamanouchi, who covers airlines and the airport.

9:01 a.m.: The Northside might get a brief lull in the afternoon, but it will quickly pass. “Bottom line is we’re going to have more hours with snow falling than when it doesn’t,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

8:56 a.m.: Channel 2 is getting reports of snow accumulating on roads in Rome in Floyd County. Road temperatures are at the freezing mark, according to the news station.

8:21 a.m.: Bartow County Schools just posted this on Facebook:

“Due to inclement weather, students at all Bartow County elementary schools will be released at 11:30 a.m. today, and students at our middle and high schools will be released at 12:30 p.m. All after-school care and activities are canceled today and tomorrow, December 9, 2017.”

8:11 a.m.: Currently, temperatures are above freezing in Marietta and other parts of Cobb County. 

“So you may ask ‘how is it snowing, if we’re not down to freezing,’” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said. “Well, the answer is this. Up in the atmosphere, 1,000 feet or so up, temperatures are below freezing.” 

7:56 a.m.: Cobb County Schools and its after-school programming will operate as usual, according to the district. However, parents are asked to pick children up from after-school programming as early as possible, and extra-curricular activities Friday night and Saturday are canceled.

7:44 a.m.: Moderate snow was reported in Marietta, also where the temperature is just above the freezing mark at 32.6 degrees,  Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

7:30 a.m.: More than a dozen school districts have closed in North Georgia, although none are in metro Atlanta, Channel 2 reported.

Marietta City Schools, however, canceled after-school care, practices and events, according to the district’s website.

7:27 a.m.: Pavement temps in Cobb and Cherokee counties are down to the mid-to upper 30s, Channel 2 reported.

7:23 a.m.: Channel 2 is reporting snow in Cobb, Cherokee and Paulding counties.

7:17 a.m.: Snow amounts could hit 2 to 4 inches on the Northside. That could increase to between 4 and 5 inches in the North Georgia mountains, and patches of 6 inches are not out of the question, according to Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz. 

Black ice is still a possibility Friday night and Saturday morning, when the low is expected to drop to 30 degrees.

7:09 a.m.: A mix of rain and snow has started in Marietta, but city schools plan to stay open, according to the district. Cherokee, Cobb, Forsyth and Fulton schools previously announced they would operate as normal.

7:03 a.m.: Snowfall rates could reach 1 inch an hour for a few hours in metro Atlanta, according to Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz.

6:52 a.m.: Cobb and Douglas counties are likely to get snow totals closer to about 2 inches, according to Channel 2.

6:46 a.m.: The snowflakes are big and coming down quickly in Emerson in Bartow County, according to Channel 2. 

6:41 a.m.: “Roads could be slick, especially bridges and overpasses,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said. 

6:39 a.m.: The temperature in Atlanta has dropped to 38 with rain in the area, Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

UPDATE [6:38 a.m.]: Temperatures are above freezing on the west side, Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said. They are below freezing across the North Georgia mountains. Snow is continuing to fall in those areas, she said.

ORIGINAL STORY: Rain is switching to snow in metro Atlanta and other parts of North Georgia.

The northwest part of the metro area, including Cobb and Cherokee counties, started to see snow just after 6 a.m., according to Channel 2 Action News.

“The snow falling now is melting,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

Elsewhere, there were reports of snow in Gilmer and Bartow counties. 

The snow started shortly after a winter storm warning went into effect at 5 a.m.

The warning means between 1 and 3 inches of snow is possible in some areas, and up to 4 inches of snow is possible at elevations above 2,500 feet. Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Floyd are part of the warning. 

The rest of metro Atlanta is under a winter weather advisory. Both the advisory and warning are expected to last through 7 a.m. Saturday.

Currently, the temp is 41 in Atlanta.

In metro Atlanta, narrow bands of heavier snow, up to 3 inches, are expected north and west of I-85, Nitz said.

“At times, it will be falling faster than that melting takes place,” Nitz said.

By 9 a.m., expect “quite a bit” of snow falling, Nitz said.

Accumulation is less likely south and east of I-85.

According to the latest forecast, there is an 80 percent chance of precipitation Friday.

Areas in far North Georgia are already seeing accumulation. Pickens County reported about 1 inch of snow, Channel 2 reported.

Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Town, Union and White county school systems announced schools will be closed Friday due to inclement weather. 

But even with the wintry mix in metro Atlanta, do not panic, Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

“This is always a changing forecast,” Minton said.

So far, no local governments or metro Atlanta schools have announced cancellations or delays. 

Atlanta, Decatur and Fulton County schools have stated they will remain open Friday. Dekalb and Cobb County schools have not said if they plan to remain open.

The Georgia high school football championships scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will continue as scheduled unless conditions worsen, a Georgia High School Association spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Some aren’t taking any chances.

Delta Air Lines waived change fees for travelers ahead of the snow.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will have de-icing pads open for airlines to use, spokesman Reese McCranie said. The airport doesn't anticipate mass flight cancellations because the ground temperature will be above freezing, but the de-icing pads will be open because of anticipated precipitation, according to McCranie.

The Georgia Department of Transportation prepared multiple brine trucks. Brine is a salt and water solution that keeps ice from forming on roads.

The brine trucks fanned out across metro Atlanta Thursday night, according to the agency.

The Cobb County Department of Transportation also started treating bridges Thursday, officials said. The department had four trucks loaded with a total of 800 gallons of brine.

Fulton County spokesman Greg Thomas said discussions are ongoing about whether to close any buildings or cancel anything. The county has some brine trucks ready to treat roads in the new south Fulton city of Renaissance, where it is still responsible for transportation.

The Fulton County Public Works Department staggered shifts with snowplow-equipped sand spreaders early Friday.

“Drivers are reminded that inclement weather like Fulton County may see makes roads slippery,” the county said in a media statement. “Drivers should reduce their speed and allow more time and distance for braking.” 

Gwinnett County fire officials are prepared to staff additional units and resources should the need arise.

DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Director Sue Loeffler urged residents “to get winter-storm ready by creating an emergency plan and assembling an emergency preparedness kit.”

Mike Singleton, who runs the Fayette County emergency management department, met with the state DOT to determine how the county plans to respond to the inclement weather, a county spokeswoman said. The county reached out to staff to let them know how they would receive weather alerts if there are problems.

Saturday and Sunday could see highs in the 40s after wintry conditions leave the metro area.

ATLANTA FORECAST:

Today: Rain/snow mix. High: 38

Tonight: More rain and snow possible. Low: 34

Tomorrow: Rain/snow mix possible. High: 41

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page. 

Here's Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns with a look at your Friday forecast.

— Staff writers Tyler Estep, Arielle Kass, Meris Lutz, Tia Mitchell, Leon Stafford, Tim Ellerbee and Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this article.

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