Winter storm warning for N. Georgia, advisory for metro area Friday

They say if you don’t like the weather here, just wait a bit and it will surely change.

Not fast enough for those who don’t like this Artic-like chill, however.

The cold air that has engulfed Georgia this week is going away, but not until Saturday afternoon. Before that — Thursday night and part of Friday — the mercury will continue to dance below freezing. With the wind chill factored in, it will be positively painful to be outside for long without the best of protection.

And watch out: Some really bad stuff may be on the way.

A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service goes into effect Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday afternoon for much of north Georgia, mainly along and north of a line from Rome to Cumming to Danielsville. The Weather Service said up to 3 inches of snow could accumulate.

A wireless message sent Thursday night from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security to alert citizens about the winter storm warning incorrectly appeared as a civil emergency message because of a technical problem, a Hall County Fire Services official said.

A winter weather advisory was issued for the metro Atlanta area, specifically along and north of Interstate 20, from 1 p.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday. Up to 1 inch of snow and sleet could fall.

Channel 2 Action News chief meteorologist Glenn Burns is calling for a combination of rain, sleet and freezing rain to move into the metro area around 3 to 5 a.m. Saturday.

First, Georgians must get through the cold.

Temperatures didn’t get beyond the upper 20s Thursday, and they are expected to plunge to around 14 overnight, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

Thursday’s weather stands in stark contrast to last year’s on this date, when the temperature reached into the upper 60s.

Warming shelters are operating across the area to serve those who don’t have heat at home.

Temperatures are forecast to rise to around 40 Friday, a relative heat wave, but they will sink back to a low of about 28 overnight Friday and into Saturday.

Then comes the wintry weather mix that could make for some treacherous conditions.

Check here for the updated forecast.

The cold itself may have already taken a deadly toll.

Atlanta police were trying to determine if the brutal cold contributed to the deaths of two people whose bodies were found late Wednesday night and early Thursday.

Friday morning’s weather is expected to start cold and clear, but it could end with a wintry mix of precipitation, especially in the far northern suburbs that are still recovering from the ice storm that brought down trees earlier in the week.

Friday’s cold will be followed by a big weekend warmup, with highs in the low 50s Saturday and near 60 degrees Sunday, when morning lows will be in the upper 40s.

The warmer temperatures will be accompanied by an 80 percent chance of rain Sunday, Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

One bright spot in the weather is that electricity has been restored to the vast majority of customers who lost it in this week’s wave of weather-induced power outages.

Georgia Power reported Thursday that it believed service had been restored for all storm-related outages.

At 8 p.m., 7,500 Georgia EMC customers remained without power, down from 134,000 at the height of the storm. Service was expected to be restored to the majority by midnight.

Check Friday’s school and business closings here.

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