Atlanta weather | Area braces for snow

If you live in metro Atlanta, there’s a chance you’ll see snow Tuesday, according to forecasters. And if you live south of town, there’s an even better chance for snow, along with freezing rain and sleet.

While the winter storm watch is no longer in effect for metro Atlanta, the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for part of north Georgia that includes the metro area from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday. The winter storm warning remains in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 1 p.m. Wednesday for much of central Georgia.

The Atlanta area should expect anywhere from a trace to an inch of snow, but the area around Eatonton could see at least 2 inches of snow, chief meteorologist Glenn Burns with Channel 2 Action News said.

He said the weather event is difficult to predict because it is not a well defined storm system. Snow could fall in metro Atlanta between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the system could move out even earlier, according to Burns.

And all over Georgia, Tuesday will start out the same way. Cold.

“It’s going to be very cold in the morning and it’s going to stay in the 20s most of the day,” Burns said.

ExploreCheck the full forecast and track changes.

Snow is expected to start Tuesday morning in the north Georgia mountains before moving southward through Atlanta toward Macon.

The forecast has prompted several government agencies and schools to plan ahead before the winter precipitation arrives. Late Monday, Delta Air Lines said 840 flights in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have been cancelled for Tuesday.

The airline is offering travelers the opportunity to make one-time changes to their tickets without a fee if they’re traveling through Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas and Texas, a Delta spokeswoman said.

Southwest Airlines cancelled 85 of 158 scheduled for Tuesday, the airline said.

The state Department of Transportation on Monday was taking a wait-and-see approach to the impending winter storm, according to spokesman Mark McKinnon.

“Our equipment is already prepared from the previous close calls we have had this year, so all we need to do is watch the weather and based on that, we will decide when and where to deploy our crews,” McKinnon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Monday morning. “The information we have so far shows that it will likely be an early Tuesday morning deployment, but that decision won’t be made until this evening.”

Atlanta has a total of 30 spreaders and 40 snow plows ready to dump 700 tons of sand and gravel mix, Melissa Mullinax, a city spokeswoman, said Monday afternoon. City workers will target priority bridges and overpasses and as needed, main arterial roads for hospitals, recreations centers and police stations.

Cobb County has sand and gravel staged in different parts of the county and could have road crews staged in those areas Tuesday afternoon as well.

County spokesman Robert Quigley said the county has plenty of “material” to deal with snow and slick roads, and that crews will wait to see if the weather develops Tuesday afternoon. Quigley said the county uses sand and gravel over salt because it is more effective at providing drivers with traction on slick roads.

“Salt melts the ice and then it freezes back up,” Quigley said.

Cobb Commissioners have the first of three public hearings Tuesday at 7 p.m. that it will hold before passing new taxes that are critical to the county’s financing of the Braves’ new stadium. Quigley said a decision on whether to reschedule that meeting will be made Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re all watching the weather,” Quigley said. “It’s a matter of having staff in place. We may have staff report in staggered shifts tomorrow. It all depends on the forecast.”

DeKalb County has replenished both its supplies and staff since the last cold snap a few weeks ago.

The county has 400 tons of sand and salt on hand and eight county dump trucks equipped with plows and spreaders to help clear roadways, county spokesman Burke Brennan said.

Workers in the road, parks and watershed department have been put on alert, to be ready to work 12-hour shifts that will allow the county a 24-hour response to the storm. In addition to trucks prepped for the storm, another 10 can be added if snow or ice begins to accumulate.

The county also has a plan to deploy up to 20 pick-up trucks with three-man teams.

“We can have two guys in the back of trucks shoveling out salt or hopping down with chainsaws to clear trees as conditions warrant,” Brennan said. “We are ready go to.”

Like most counties, DeKalb plans to service roads in front of hospitals and police and fire stations first, then bridges and overpasses. DeKalb also will hit main county thoroughfares, such as Ashford Dunwoody and Panola roads.

As of Monday afternoon, all county offices and county buildings – including libraries and senior centers – will be open to the public Tuesday.

Clayton and Fulton County schools cancelled after-school activities for Tuesday. Check school closings here.

The snow should taper off early Wednesday, when temperatures in the low 20s will be followed by highs again in the mid-30s. Thursday will begin with lows in the teens, but the afternoon should be a little warmer, with highs in the low 40s.

Friday will be even warmer, with lows in the upper 20s and highs around 55 degrees.

— Staff writers April Hunt, Dan Klepal, Katie Leslie and Andria Simmons contributed to this article.