Wind chill advisory for North Georgia; drivers warned of black ice threat

On Friday,  a rainy metro Atlanta experienced a rapid drop in temperatures. That meant Saturday morning’s roads could pose a threat of black ice for travelers, particularly bridges, overpasses and other wet surfaces.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said residents could expect “a cold day today across North Georgia.”

Monahan said wind gusts are reaching up to 30 mph in Atlanta this morning with the wind chill in the teens, and even by noon the wind chill will make it feel like 23 degrees.

Several counties north of metro Atlanta are under a wind chill advisory this morning, with areas feeling like the temps are in the single digits.

While the day is expected to turn mostly sunny, the high is only expected to reach 39, Monahan said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation lined metro Atlanta roads with brine Friday evening in preparation for the threat of black ice.

Friday saw a swing in temperatures: Atlanta reached the day’s high of 61 degrees while some of you were still asleep. Then the temperature began to fall rapidly throughout the afternoon. The city hit below freezing temps just after 9 p.m.

But the rain has moved out of the area, leaving behind frigid temperatures.

Here’s how Friday has unfolded:

10:37 p.m.: As Atlanta hit freezing temperatures, breezy conditions are making the city feel colder than 31 degrees. "I got a report of flurries in Roswell about an hour ago, (but nothing else," Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said. "The skies are going to be clearing overnight."

9:33 p.m.: Atlanta has hit 33 degrees, hours after reaching a high of 62 degrees, according to Channel 2 Action News. Winds are at 28 mph, but no showers are in sight.

8:25 p.m.: A wind chill advisory has been issued for North Georgia through 10 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Affected counties include: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Towns, Union, Walker, White and Whitfield. "Very cold wind chills expected. Expect wind chills to 5 above zero to 5 below zero," Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said.

7 p.m.: Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said tonight's forecast of snow is "not a big deal." As for the flurries that have been expected in North Georgia, Nitz said "it won't cause any problems" in metro Atlanta and said far North Georgia might see "a flurry or two" but to not expect accumulation. But it will be cold, with temps dipping into the 30s and in some places the 20s by 9 p.m.

6 p.m.: Atlanta has fallen to 47 degrees, roughly 10 hours after reaching a high of 62 on Friday morning. A cold front ushered in light showers to the region and winds are expected to reach 20 mph with gusts at 30 mph, sending temps into the 30s.

5:18 p.m.: The Georgia Department of Transportation will line metro Atlanta roads with brine at 8 p.m., spokeswoman Natalie Dale told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We know that roads are wet and we know temperatures are dropping below freezing ... when you put two and two together, it's a good formula for icy roads," she said. Dale said GDOT crews are waiting for after-work traffic to clear before pre-treating roads.

4:36 p.m.: Light showers still lingering in metro Atlanta should be gone by the evening, but "spotty snow showers" are expected in northwest Georgia by 7 p.m., Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. "I do think a lot of the wet roadways from today will be drying before the cold air hits," she said. Still, GDOT is lining streets with brine in anticipation of "black ice" and what Walls said could be "an inch or less or a dusting" of snow. "In the north metro, an isolated flurry can't be ruled out, but accumulation is not expected," she said, adding that no severe impact is expected.

4:08 p.m.: The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for Rabun County. The weather center has not said when the watch is scheduled to expire.

4:06 p.m.: Much of the rain Georgia saw earlier is now heading east, with a huge chunk of it in South Carolina, Channel 2 Action News reported. Now we wait for 30-degree weather, which could hit the metro Atlanta area by 9 p.m., Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. Friday evening should be breezy with winds at 20 mph and gusts at 30 mph. So far, Atlanta remains at 56 degrees. Temperatures in northwest Georgia have dropped roughly 4 degrees to the low 40s, Walls said.

3:11 p.m.: All of the emergency vehicles in Fannin County are either four-wheel drives or have tire chains in the event of winter weather, EMA Director Robert Graham said Friday afternoon in anticipation of snow flurries Friday night. The North Georgia county is a tourist destination due to its mountains. "I'm actually a little more concerned that there may be black ice instead of snow or sleet," Graham said.

2:11 p.m.: Floyd County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Herrington said he was monitoring the situation and was hopeful the snow and freezing rain would fall north of the Rome area. "We do have our city and county trucks on standby," Herrington said. Crews are prepared to put down a brine solution if slick spots develop on roadways, he said.

2:01 p.m.: "While I expect the wind to evaporate a lot of moisture from roadways this afternoon, any wet roads could become icy overnight as temperatures drop into the 20s," Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said.

1:20 p.m.: To recap, here's the projected timeline for the wintry weather in metro Atlanta:

7 p.m. — The forecast calls for the temp to decrease to 40 degrees.

8 p.m. — Rain subsides. “But that cold air will be rushing in,” Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. “You'll notice as soon as that cold front passes through your neighborhood. The breeze picking up and those temperatures plummeting.”

9 p.m. — Light snow showers in northwest Georgia and the North Georgia mountains. “At this point, the north metro could see some flurries, but no accumulation expected,” Walls said. “If we do have any accumulation, it will be in the North Georgia mountains. And even then, an inch or less.”

11 p.m. — Atlanta could see the temperature drop to 33 — 28 degrees lower than Friday’s high, Channel 2 reported.

6 a.m. Saturday — “The big story is going to be the cold air for your Saturday morning,” Walls said. “Temperatures starting off at 27 in Calhoun, 28 degrees in Rome, around 28 in Atlanta and around 23 degrees in Blairsville.”

Saturday’s expected high in Atlanta is 38.

12:30 p.m.: Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said she is not concerned about any severe weather this afternoon.

“My concern now turns for the potential for some snow flurries, for those plummeting temperatures and for that breeze,” she said.

The latest models indicate snow flurries in the northern part of metro Atlanta, but no accumulation.

“If we do have any accumulation, it will be in the North Georgia mountains,” Walls said. “And even then, an inch or less.”

11:05 a.m.: Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said the cold air headed our way today will stick around for about a week.

Ingrid Prieto makes her way upstairs from the Philips Arena MARTA station on a rainy Friday. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

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A cold front is expected to bring low temperatures to metro Atlanta on Friday. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

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Today: Showers and storms. High: 61

Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low: 33

Tomorrow: Much colder. High: 38

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

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