Traffic built up on I-285 Friday as a wintery mixture of sleet fell. Yet again, commuters and school buses poured onto roadways at once when the snow started, but the gridlock was short lived. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

With forecast of possible ice, schools keeping eye on weekend weather

 While most of the winter weather predicted over the weekend will be confined to the northeast part of the state, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said she can’t rule out patches of sleet on the fringes of metro Atlanta beginning early Sunday. 

 “We could even see some freezing rain that creeps into parts of the metro area, too,” Minton said. “It’s staying out of Atlanta, but cutting into parts of Gwinnett, maybe even getting toward parts of Cherokee County, so we'll keep a close eye on it.”

In 2017, metro Atlanta got a heavy dose of snow that shut down schools in December.

As chilly temperatures and the chance of snow or wintry mix ratchet up, school leaders will be watching the skies in coming months and following the usual protocols in making the calls, often controversial with parents, about shutting down schools.

From Forsyth to Henry counties, the superintendents have the final say in school closings. Local superintendents often have group phone calls to consult with each other  They make their decisions after consultations with regional and state weather and transportation agencies on based on the following factors:

• Road conditions

• Time of weather’s arrival

• Weather forecasts

•Building and parking lot conditions

•Temperature and wind-chill

•Probability of buses being able to transport students

When is a decision made?

Scheduled meetings typically take place beginning in the days before expected weather is to arrive.

School transportation departments makes contact with various safety organizations to get initial information about weather conditions and the possible effects on roads and schools A final decision to close schools is sometimes made the day before or very early in the morning on the day-of.

How do parents find out?

Radio and television stations get contacted by school communications departments as soon as the superintendent makes a decision. School systems also have a variety of ways of contacting parents, including posting information on websites, through official Twitter accounts, and on school Facebook accounts.

Channel 2 Action News also keeps a list of school closings in the metro area. WSB Radio at 750 on the AM dial also broadcast lists of closings.

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