State of emergency declared amid snow, frigid temps; schools canceled

ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS: What do the designations mean?

As snow falls on North Georgia, a growing list of schools and local governments announced closings for Wednesday and the governor declared a state of emergency for 83 counties amid arctic temperatures and harsh winter conditions.

Freezing temperatures in the 20s have already hit parts of northwest Georgia, Channel 2 Action News reported. Atlanta was at 29 degrees at 11 p.m. — and dropping.

Snow was on the roads in Kennesaw on Tuesday night. (Credit: Ryan Wood via Channel 2 Action News)

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And by Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., it could feel like -2 degrees in Atlanta, according to the latest forecast.

“Hazardous travel is likely to develop,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said Tuesday night. “Untreated and secondary roads likely will become slick.”

The winter weather advisory continues until 10 a.m. Wednesday. The wind chill advisory is in effect until 7 a.m.

Before the night is over, mountain counties could get 1 to 3 inches of snow and the northern metro Atlanta could get a half-inch to 1 inch, according to Channel 2. Chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said the heaviest snow totals could turn out to be in Middle Georgia, where he expected 2 to 3 inches.

Flurries are expected to continue through the night.

Many school districts announced cancellations because of the wintry weather, including these in the metro area: Atlanta, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Marietta. Gwinnett officials said it will be a digital learning day.

Others include: Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Coweta, Dawson, Douglas, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Heard, Jasper, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Monroe, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Putnam, Rockdale, Thomaston-Upson, Towns, Troup, Union, Walton and Whitfield counties, in addition to Bremen, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Dalton, Rome and Social Circle city systems. White County is delayed two hours.

Troy Jones (left), Adorian Sammons and Zrion Jones (back) play in the snow at the Mack Gaston Community Center in Dalton on Tuesday. (Credit: Matt Hamilton / Dalton Daily Citizen-News)

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Here’s how the day is unfolding:

11:31 p.m.: Forsyth County Schools will have an "online learning day" as schools close due to winter weather.

11:25 p.m.: Xpress transit services are suspended and SRTA offices closed for Wednesday due to the threat of hazardous road conditions.

11:20 p.m.: An arctic front is clearing across North Georgia, bringing temps to the teens, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said. Snow will continue to spread east overnight as an arctic blast builds overnight with sustained winds at 20 mph and gusts at 30 mph. Atlanta's expected high is 24 degrees Wednesday.

11:13 p.m.: Fulton County offices will close tomorrow due to the inclement weather. All courts in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit will also be closed, and jurors should not report.

10:35 p.m.: DeKalb County offices, libraries, senior centers and recreation centers will be closed Wednesday. Also, all county courts, the office of the Clerk of Superior Court and Board of Equalization will be closed.

10:17 p.m.: Gov. Nathan Deal issued a state of emergency due to the winter weather for 83 Georgia counties. It extends northward from Columbus to Macon to Augusta. "Following the latest update from the National Weather Service, and acting upon the recommendation from the state's Emergency Operations Command, I've issued an executive order closing state government for non-essential personnel tomorrow," Deal said in a news release. "The Georgia Department of Transportation will continue treating our roads and interstates. To ensure people's safety and to allow GDOT to do its job, I urge people to remain home and off the roads. We will continue monitoring the weather and will provide updates as necessary."

9:55 p.m.: The City of Atlanta announced that government offices and the Municipal Court will be closed Wednesday.

9:39 p.m.: Teams at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were working with airlines to conduct de-icing operations.

9:23 p.m.: The Georgia Department of Transportation warned of treacherous roads Tuesday night in a Twitter post: "As snow continues to fall across Georgia and temps continue to fall, roads are expected to become slick. If you have to travel please use caution and drive with caution."

8:53 p.m.: Snow has reached Midtown Atlanta and Grant Park. Flurries are expected to continue into Middle Georgia as the night progresses.

8:39 p.m.: The city of Atlanta will open a third warming center after two others are expected to reach capacity overnight, officials said. The Grant Park Recreation Center will open at 9 p.m. for those seeking shelter from harsh winter conditions.

8:20 p.m.: Snow has reached north Fulton County, Channel 2 reported.

8:01 p.m.: Arctic air is rolling in to metro Atlanta along the perimeter, according to Channel 2 Action News.

7:46 p.m.: The Henry County courthouse will open at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

7:19 p.m.: Delta has canceled 275 mainline and Delta Connection regional flights.

Snow appearing on cars in Acworth. (Credit:  Channel 2 Action News)

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7:14 p.m.: Snow has seeped further into parts of Cobb County, landing on SunTrust Park, Channel 2 reported.

6:56 p.m.: Georgia Piedmont Technical College will have a delayed opening of 10 a.m. Wednesday, spokeswoman Zaundra Brown said.

6:41 p.m.: Moderate snow is falling over parts of Cobb and Paulding counties and is headed to Atlanta, according to Channel 2.

6:27 p.m.: GDOT road sensors show pavement temperatures are below freezing on I-75 in northwest Georgia, Channel 2 Action News reported.

6:07 p.m.: Sweat Mountain in northeast Cobb County has been hit with flurries, according to Channel 2.

6:02 p.m.: Snow has hit Cherokee County, and Cartersville has reduced visibility to 1.5 miles with snow, Channel 2 reported.

5:51 p.m.: It's snowing in parts of Paulding and Pickens counties, Channel 2 Action News reported.

5:37 p.m.: The Georgia Emergency Management Agency will have a briefing with the National Weather Service and will decide if they will close state offices by 8 p.m., Gov. Nathan Deal said in a tweet.

5:35 p.m.: Light snow has been reported in parts of Cherokee County, but other areas are expected to see rain transititon into the white stuff, Channel 2 reported.

5:22 p.m.: Latest round of school closings for Wednesday, according to Channel 2 Action News: Carroll County, Carrollton, Henry County and Lamar County.

5:13 p.m.: A mix of snow and rain is expected to hit metro Atlanta at 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. "The precipitation intensity may be fairly light to start, with a better surge in moisture overnight, especially from LaGrange northeast to Athens," the weather center tweeted.

4:50 p.m.: Snow is increasing in the North Georgia mountains and a mix of snow and rain is expected to hit metro Atlanta at 7 p.m.
4:46 p.m.: Troup County Schools will be closed due to the threat of snow Wednesday, according to Channel 2 Action News. 
4:45 p.m.: Slick roads have caused two wrecks on Ga. 11 in Dade County, officials said.

4:26 p.m.: Georgia Gwinnett College will close at 6 p.m. due to inclement weather, officials said in a tweet. Gwinnett Technical College will close at 5 p.m.

4:25 p.m.: Monroe County Schools will be closed Wednesday due to the threat of overnight snow, district spokesman Jackson Daniel said.

4:21 p.m.: The Cobb County government will have a delayed opening of 10 a.m. Wednesday, spokesman Ross Cavitt said. The county will also suspend operations at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

4:03 p.m.: Brine trucks are expected to be on metro Atlanta roads through 9 p.m., Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Natalie Dale said. Trucks were on the roads at 9 a.m. and plow trucks are on standby in case conditions worsen. "Once we get the brine down, it's sort of a wait-and-see with the weather pattern," Dale said.

3:42 p.m.: Douglas and Gwinnett counties have opened warming centers as temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing through the evening. Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross will open its doors at 4 p.m., while First United Methodist Church in Douglasville will open at 7 p.m.

3:36 p.m.: Kennesaw State University's campuses will close at 5 p.m., according the school's Twitter account. A decision on whether to remain closed Wednesday will come at 10 p.m., according to officials.

3:11 p.m.: Light snow is being reported in northwest Georgia in Polk, Fannin, Whitfield and Catoosa counties, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

3:03 p.m.: DeKalb County will open three warming centers at 7 p.m. for citizens to use overnight as temperatures are expected to remain below freezing

2:37 p.m.: The National Weather Service has extended a winter weather advisory for metro Atlanta and other parts of North Georgia until 10 a.m. Wednesday. It was originally scheduled to expire at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The advisory went into effect at noon in the North Georgia mountains, but is not scheduled to go into effect in metro Atlanta until 5 p.m. Additional counties have been added to the advisory, according to the NWS.

2:17 p.m.: After-school activities and athletics are canceled in DeKalb County, according to the district. The after-school extended day program will be closing early.

2:13 p.m.: All evening activities will conclude by 8 p.m., according to Gwinnett County Public Schools. Schools and coaches will communicate any changes to scheduled events.

2:09 p.m.: All extracurricular activities scheduled after 5 p.m. are canceled, according to Fayette County Public Schools. After-school program parents are asked to pick up their students by 5 p.m.

2 p.m.: Douglas County Schools officials say after-school activities are canceled. Parents are asked to pick up students by 4 p.m. All buses will run their regular schedule, and science fair judging and interviews will continue as scheduled, the district said.

1:20 p.m.: Things could change, but people should plan to be off the roads by 5 p.m. on the Northside, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said. Drivers should get off the roads two to three hours later on the Southside.

1:08 p.m.: Delta is waiving certain change fees for passengers with flights booked Jan. 16 or 17 to, from or through Atlanta and dozens of other cities who want to change their travel plans to avoid the storm.

12:36 p.m.: The first snowflakes are falling in northwest Georgia, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said. There is a report of light snow in Catoosa County, according to Channel 2. Snow is expected to pick up in the North Georgia mountains over the next two to four hours.

12:30 p.m.: Rockdale County Schools officials say games and competitions are canceled, but baseball tryouts and girls basketball practice will go on as scheduled.

12:23 p.m.: All Chattahoochee Technical College campuses will close at 5 p.m.

After-school activities are canceled for Atlanta Public Schools and extracurricular activities are canceled for schools in Fulton and Cherokee counties.

While after-school programs at elementary schools in Cherokee County will operate as scheduled, parents are encouraged to pick up students before 5 p.m., the district said.

Noon: A winter weather advisory for snow and "dangerous wind chills" went into effect in the mountain counties. It is not scheduled to go into effect in metro Atlanta until 5 p.m.

11:56 a.m.: wind chill advisory is set to go into effect at 9 p.m. for metro Atlanta and other parts of North Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. It is set to last until 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Eva Harden braves the cold at the Northside MARTA transit station early Tuesday. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM


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Today: Snow showers. High: 47

Tonight: Light snow possible. Low: 28

Tomorrow: Windy and cold. High: 31

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.