WEATHER UPDATE: Companies still working to restore power amid arctic blast

Highs only reaching the teens in North Georgia

Credit: WSBTV Videos

Arctic blast arrives in north Georgia, wind chill advisory and wind chill warning in effect

The long-anticipated arctic front blanketing much of the U.S. finally arrived Friday, bringing bitterly cold temperatures to North Georgia and triggering a wind chill warning in some metro Atlanta counties.

“Strong, gusty winds coming through, really howling wind across North Georgia, is bringing in the coldest air we’ve seen in nearly a decade,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said early Friday morning.

Temperatures dropped steadily from the 50s overnight into the teens. Friday’s high was forecast to be 19 degrees.

The effects of the bone-chilling blast was enhanced by brutal winds.

“With wind gusts that are going to be 30, 40 mph, even up to 50 mph, especially on Friday across North Georgia, that’s going to mean dangerous wind chill. That’s the effect of the combination of the temperature and the wind on your exposed skin,” Monahan said. “It can cause problems like hypothermia and frostbite if you’re not protected out there.”

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill warning across much of North Georgia. Wind will cause temperatures to feel as cold as -10 degrees and could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes, according to the NWS.

Heavy wind gusts brought down trees around the metro area, causing isolated power outages that added up to affect tens of thousands of residents Friday. While utility crews have been working steadily to repair damaged powerlines, small outages continue to be reported.

Georgia Power’s outage map showed hundreds of small outages scattered across the city and the state as a whole, disrupting power for about 10,000 customers as of 7 p.m. DeKalb County has about 4,000 customers without power.

Georgia EMCs reported about 1,800 outages as of 7 p.m.

The wind can also affect pets, cutting through all but the thickest coats of fur. Once the wind chill drops below 20 degrees, no pets should remain outside for more than a half-hour, Monahan said. The NWS suggests bundling pets for trips outside and ensuring they are clean and dry when they come back inside. Be sure to check their paws for any buildup of ice or frozen mud.

The dangerously cold weather will park over Atlanta at least through Christmas Day, according to Monahan. The metro area won’t see temperatures above freezing until Monday, which is forecasted to reach a high of 39 degrees.

In response to the inhospitable weather, the city of Atlanta and many parts of the metro area are opening warming centers for those unable to shelter from the cold. They can be found in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Gwinnett and Hall counties, as well as East Point.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced a state of emergency Thursday that loosened restrictions on propane carriers and allowed state parks to open warming centers for those who may lose power or motorists stranded in the cold.

Thanks to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s advance preparations throughout the week and the drying effect of the morning’s gusty winds, traffic remained mostly normal Friday.

The harsh weather had more of an effect at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is experiencing an expected surge of holiday travelers. Security lines were long early Friday, with wait times nearing a half-hour for some travelers.

With many regions across the country hobbled by storms, some flights at Hartsfield-Jackson to and from those areas have been canceled.

Many attractions around metro Atlanta were shut down in the face of this arctic front, including Six Flags Over Georgia, Zoo Atlanta and parts of Stone Mountain Park.

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

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