FRIDAY’S WEATHER | Excruciating cold returning to metro area

Drastic swings in temps likely caused Cobb water main break; Zoo Atlanta closed Saturday

Another blast of arctic air arrives in metro Atlanta on Friday.

After a brief warmup into the 50-degree range Thursday, temperatures are diving back into the teens to kick off the weekend. As a result, Zoo Atlanta announced that it will be closed Saturday due to the weather.

The drastic changes in temperatures likely led to a failure of a large water main on Macedonia Road in Cobb County, water authority officials said. A boil water advisory has been issued for the southern part of the county as crews work to repair the 36-inch pipeline.

Friday morning started off in the 40s with a few areas seeing some patchy drizzle.

“Not so bad (this morning), but the wind is starting to pick up,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said. “That is a sign to me that the arctic air is kind of starting to tumble and roll toward North Georgia, and you’re really going to feel it for the afternoon.”

Highs today will top out in the low 40s closer to the city, and temps here should stay relatively steady throughout the day. With the wind, however, it’ll feel more like the 20s. As temperatures drop, we could see wind chill factors as low as 9 degrees below zero, Monahan said.

A wind chill advisory will go into effect for the metro area at 11 p.m., and a winter weather advisory remains in effect in far northeast Georgia, where there is potential for patchy black ice, according to the National Weather Service. Both advisories expire at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The cities of Atlanta and Forest Park have warming centers open Friday.

For Atlanta, two centers are open through Monday morning. One for men only is open at the Central Park Recreation Center at 400 Merritts Avenue, and another for only women and children will be at the Selena Butler Recreation Center at 98 William Holmes Borders Senior Drive.

Forest Park’s will be at the Forest Park Recreation Center at 803 Forest Parkway on Friday and Saturday. The center will open at 7 p.m. and close at 7 a.m. both days. It can accommodate up to 50 people, and snacks and bottled water will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, officials said.

By Saturday morning, the arctic air will have taken hold and temperatures will struggle to break the freezing mark. The forecast is calling for a high of just 31 degrees in town, Monahan said.

Despite the bitter cold, Saturday should bring bright, sunny skies to the area.

Overnight lows will dip into the teens, and some higher elevations in the North Georgia mountains could see lows in the single digits. Again, with winds in the 5- to 10-mph range, it will feel even colder. NWS meteorologists predict another wind chill advisory will be needed for Sunday morning.

With several consecutive hours of sub-freezing temperatures expected between tonight and Monday morning, the NWS warns to take precautions to protect pipes, pets and any outdoor livestock.

“A cold and dry weekend in the forecast, but we’re going to completely flip the weather pattern around next week,” Monahan said.

A warming trend starts Sunday afternoon as the pocket of arctic air moves northeast into the Mid-Atlantic, the NWS reports. That ushers in warmer air from the east and southeast, pushing Sunday’s highs into the 40s and gradually increasing each day.

Sunday night lows do slide back into the 20s and 30s, but the NWS predicts that will be the last we see of the cold air — at least for the foreseeable future. By mid to late next week, highs are projected to be in the 70s.

Along with the warmer air, there are some downpours in the forecast. Beginning Tuesday, rain chances increase and remain elevated for the next few days.

Some areas, mainly in the northwest part of the state, could see up to 3 inches, according to the NWS. And with much of North Georgia still under moderate drought conditions, those areas will greatly benefit from the rain.

Five-day forecast for Jan. 19, 2024.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

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Credit: Channel 2 Action News

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