The good news: there will be no Snowpocalypse, no Snowmageddon and no Snowjam. The Gridlockalypse — at least with winter to blame — will wait.
The cold, though, is here.
Temperatures this week will sink to lows metro Atlanta doesn’t typically see until deep into the winter. With wind chill, it will feel like it is 15 degrees outside.
In other words, it’s time to bundle up.
Katie Stanwick hadn’t gotten the message yet on Monday afternoon. Cigarette in hand, she sat on a bench outside Perimeter Mall in a pair of shorts. At least she had a sweatshirt on. Her knees were tucked inside.
“I’m freezing,” said Stanwick, who had just left the tanning salon. “I don’t enjoy this weather.”
A hostess, Stanwick said she’ll be cold at work, too. She stands near the door, and jackets are not part of her work uniform. She thought for a minute about calling in sick. When she finished smoking, Stanwick ducked into Urban Outfitters. “I’m going to go buy some pants,” she said.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the low temperatures will be in the 20s, more than 20 degrees below the average. Highs on Tuesday won’t get out of the mid-30s.
If the temperature feels Arctic, that’s because it is. Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said the cold air is coming directly from that region, pushing through Canada and down.
“It’s certainly the coldest so far this season,” he said. “The pattern in the atmosphere is more typical of January than November.”
It’s so cold the city of Atlanta is opening a warming center at the Old Adamsville Recreation Center beginning Tuesday evening for residents in need. Gwinnett Technical College delayed a planned groundbreaking of its North Fulton campus, citing the chill.
But the cold will not mean ice, and will not mean snow. No precipitation is predicted, though high winds could lead to limbs falling on power lines.
“The ground is so wet and winds are picking up,” Georgia Power spokesman John Craft said. “I could definitely see some trees coming down.”
Still, Kraft said, he did not expect an active week for power loss. The Georgia Department of Transportation is also anticipating calm, aside from a planned winter weather test run scheduled for Tuesday morning.
If the weather does turn, spokeswoman Teri Pope said, GDOT has more salt than it has at any point in its history. Employees are prepared to leave work with snowplows attached to their cars, if need be.
“We’re watching the forecast very intently,” she said.
So are metro leaders across the region. They’ll spend a lot of time watching this winter.
Nitz said the outlook for the season is for below-average temperatures and precipitation that is near the average, or slightly above it. Atlanta typically gets 2.9 inches of precipitation between December and March, most of it rain.
Aside from this week, though, it’s not winter yet. The weather should be closer to normal — mid- to upper-60s — next Monday, Nitz said.
But before then, when the scarves are functional, not fashionable, locals should try to limit their time outdoors. Morrow resident Avaadia Christian said he plans to wear more layers, even if it means he can’t express himself when bundled up.
“The cold interferes with your everyday activities,” he said. “You don’t want to take the dog for a walk or your kid for a walk.”
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