The change was made after Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Karen Minton contacted the NWS to clarify that there is not a Winter Storm Watch issued as of Thursday morning.

GDOT apologizes for “overreacting” on risk of wintry precipitation

Yes, there’s a chance – a very slight chance – that a wintry mix of precipitation could fall across metro Atlanta on Thursday evening.

But despite what you might have read on Georgia Department of Transportation message boards before daybreak, no winter storm watches or warnings have been issued.

The DOT erroneously posted messages on some electronic signboards stating that there was a winter storm watch from 2 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday, while at least one of the overhead interstate signs stated there was a winter storm warning.

The problem is, the National Weather Service has issued no watches or warnings, only a special statement pointing out the slight possibility of frozen precipitation.

By 5:45 a.m., the erroneous message had been removed from the signs.

A GDOT spokesman later issued a statement, saying the agency “overreacted.”

“In our desire to proactively inform the traveling public of potential hazardous road conditions, we overreacted to a weather statement from the National Weather Service and incorrectly posted watch and warning messages on our overhead message signs from 10:30 Wednesday night until 5:30 Thursday morning,” the GDOT statement read. “We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”

In a special statement updated by the Weather Service just after 4 a.m., forecasters said light rain is expected to develop from Columbus to Macon after noon and spread north into metro Atlanta during the afternoon hours.

“Temperatures will be in the low to mid-40s, which will result in just a cold rain,” the Weather Service said. “However, after sunset, as the rain continues, temperatures will gradually fall into the mid-30s with light snow possibly mixing with the rain briefly before ending by midnight.”

The Weather Service said any wintry mix “is expected to be limited to a few hours, and any snow should melt quickly after hitting the ground.”

Temperatures will be a few degrees colder in the mountains, but moisture will be limited that far north.

Channel 2 Action News chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said passing snow flurries or a brief sprinkle was possible Thursday night, but no accumulation was expected. There were scattered reports of snow flurries.

“If you’re heading out tonight, you’re not going to encounter any weather problems at all,” he said.

Fulton County Schools announced that out of an abundance of caution, staff will monitor road conditions throughout the night. Staff and families were advised to be prepared in the event that there is a two-hour delay for schools on Friday morning if the roads are not safe.

It is expected to be around 30 degrees early Friday before becoming mostly sunny with highs in the low 50s.

A 40 percent chance of rain is forecast for Saturday, along with morning lows in the low 30s and afternoon highs in the mid 50s.

Sunday should be partly cloudy, with highs in the mid 50s and lows in the upper 30s.

—Angel K. Brooks contributed to this report.

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