It’s going to get pretty miserable in metro Atlanta for the next few days.
You’ve probably heard about the bone chilling cold that moves in on Monday. But first we have to deal with the drive to work and back.
The precipitation that has already fallen overnight could freeze after the temperatures plunge below 32 degrees Monday morning.
The National Weather Service says there is a chance for light snow accumulation north of a line from Carrollton-to-Atlanta-to-Gainesville. But if there is any it won’t be much. The chances of snow increase the further you go into the north Georgia mountains. Meteorologist Kirk Mellish says he does not expect snow flurries to create driving problems as they will end with little impact except conversation.
But the biggest issue will be any of the moisture that is left on the roads once the temps pass the freezing mark. Once that happens, we won’t get back above freezing again until Wednesday, around 60 straight hours below freezing.
A wind chill advisory has been issued for all of metro Atlanta and north Georgia. Hopefully those high winds will help dry the roads, but it’s going to make things feel pretty awful.
It will be “the coldest we’ve been in 18 years, a once in a decade to once in a generation cold wave from the Siberian Express as the Polar Vortex drops south,” says WSB meteorologist Kirk Mellish. "The wind will dry off most of the pavement in Metro Atlanta so icy spots should be the exception and snow showers will be hit and miss and will only provide a dusting in some areas before they end, many will see none", said Mellish.
Winds will reach up to 35 miles an hour on Monday.
Temperatures will stay in the 20s for much of the day, but as overnight, the bottom falls out.
Lows will be in the single digits and the high winds will make it feel as cold as 10-below zero.
Meanwhile the Georgia Department of Transportation has been building up its ice fighting arsenal all weekend.
Crews throughout the state will have 25,500 tons of salt, 33,500 tons of gravel, 30,000 gallons of salt brine at their disposal.
If the ice proves to be severe, the DOT says it will first clear two lanes on each interstate to try and make them passable. Then it will move to the major state roads.
“Our equipment is ready and our crews are resting in anticipation of 12-hour shifts beginning later today,” GDOT spokesman David Spear told the AJC.
But the DOT only works with state roads.
Managers in many metro Atlanta counties and cities have been coming up with plans all weekend.
“We’ll send out spotter trucks overnight throughout the county to report the ice cover and then hit those area with our sand and salt trucks,” DeKalb County communications office Burke Brennan told the AJC. “We learned lessons from the storm in 2011.”
Brennan said the county has 400 tons of salt-and-sand mix available to deal with black ice. Rather than purchase expensive salt trucks, DeKalb has outfitted other trucks from the county fleet, such as dump trucks, with spreaders to distribute sand and salt.
In Atlanta, city spokesperson Melissa Mullinax says crews are treating key overpasses and bridges.
“The city has purchased new snow plows and deicers,” says Mullinax. “We are well prepared for this.”
But this wont even be close to the winter shutdown in Atlanta three years ago this week. Temperatures will improve into the low 40s Wednesday with 50s by the end of the week.