Metro Atlanta braces for winter weather

Randy Walker walks by 19 brine tanks at the Georgia Department of Transportation facility on Kennedy Drive in Forest Park.

Combined ShapeCaption
Randy Walker walks by 19 brine tanks at the Georgia Department of Transportation facility on Kennedy Drive in Forest Park.

As of Thursday afternoon, most of metro Atlanta appeared to be taking a “wait and see” approach to reports of plunging temperatures and possible snow going into Friday.

Several counties and cities around the region have already started pre-treating bridges and some roads with brine, a salt water mix that helps prevent ice from forming.

Others are preparing brine, sand, salt and plows to have on standby in case of snow.

"Once they started using the s-word, it put us on alert," said Sandy Springs spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

Ever since the infamous Snowpocalypse of 2014, which stranded thousands across the city, local officials have been wary of waiting too long to send home students and workers. On the other hand, they have been pilloried for shutting down ahead of storms that never arrive.

Kraun said black ice is the biggest threat, and transportation department crews were ready to hit known trouble spots “if the need arises.”

"Most of it is waiting and waiting," she said. "It's being prepared so if you have a problem, you can take care of it quickly."

Channel 2 Action News’ Glenn Burns said residents can expect rain after midnight. Precipitation could turn to a wintry mix of snow and rain by 4 a.m. Friday and stretch for 30-40 miles on either side of I-85.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for metro Atlanta and North Georgia beginning at 5 a.m. Friday.

“I expect the rain/snow to continue until mid afternoon (Friday) before changing to all rain and ending,” Burns wrote.

He said snow or rain could accumulate up to an inch, but would likely melt on impact with temperatures expected to remain above freezing until early Saturday morning.

The city of Lawrenceville cancelled its Hometown Christmas Parade, originally scheduled for Friday night, citing the threat of inclement weather.

None of the school systems or local governments contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had cancellations to announce as of Thursday afternoon.

An official from the Atlanta public school system told Channel 2 schools would remain open Friday.

School districts generally consult with emergency management services and transportation departments when weighing the decision to delay or cancel, with superintendents making the final call.

Delta Air Lines announced it would waive certain change fees for travelers scheduled to fly to, from or through Atlanta on Friday.

The airline is also advising travelers to check their flight status frequently and sign up for mobile or e-mail flight notifications.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport spokesman Reese McCranie said the airport doesn't anticipate mass flight cancellations, since the ground temperature will be above freezing, but deicing pads will be open because of anticipated precipitation.


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