Stay home before snow storm hits, DeKalb officials warn

Residents should avoid driving in metro Atlanta starting Friday as the risk of a heavy snow storm increases, according to DeKalb County officials.

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond said Thursday that emergency workers are prepared for a potentially "historic weather event."

"We can't stress enough the importance of staying off the roads unless absolutely necessary," Thurmond said during a press conference at DeKalb police headquarters in Tucker.

Forecasts indicate that rain may turn to snow when temperatures drop around sunset Friday, said Susan Loeffler, director for the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency. The storm could gain power around midnight, when up to an inch per hour of snow may be dumped on the region.

“We need to take care of each other and be prepared,” she said. “Be safe. Stay home. … Go to the grocery store now.”

Most of DeKalb County could receive 3 or 4 inches of snow, while areas around Lithonia and Stone Mountain could get 4 to 6 inches, Loeffler said.

The county has 16 snow plows ready, while police and firefighters will put chains on their tires when needed.

“We want to make sure that our residents are prepared,” said DeKalb Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander. “Stay home as much as you can.”

Metro Atlanta governments learned from the heavy snow storm in 2014 that snarled traffic and shut down the region for days, officials said.

DeKalb bought four more snow plows and prepared ahead of time by mixing salt-and-sand that will be used to clear roads .