The snow is finally tapering off from the northwest across metro Atlanta, and while sunshine is forecast later in the day, authorities still advise against venturing out onto snow-covered roads.
Meanwhile, 364,000 Georgians are waking up with no electricity as ice-laden trees and power lines continue to fall.
Here’s what you need to know on Day 2 of the ice and snow storm that brought much of north and central Georgia to a standstill:
We will see the sun again
Thursday morning’s lingering flurries were tapering off at 9 a.m., and had already ended in the northwest suburbs.
“The worst of it will be transferring to the north and east away from Georgia,” says WSB meteorologist Kirk Mellish. “We’ve kind of gotten through this as best we could hope for.”
Then we get to the melting. That will come later Thursday. But there is a lot of work to do.
“Things are still going to be very tricky the first half of Thursday,” said Mellish.
High temperatures on Thursday will reach the low to mid 40s with increasing sun. So if the ice is not in the shade, it could melt away. However there is much more ice and snow to get rid of than there was two weeks ago, but we will be much warmer than with the last snow and that will help alot.
So getting to work still seems unlikely on Thursday. Plus, we will go back below freezing again Thursday night. Mellish is looking at lows 27-31.
But Friday you might have a better shot in the afternoon.
“I think things will be improving quite a bit,” says Mellish.
Mellish is calling for highs to move to around 53. Lows will be near 30. There is a 60 percent chance of light rain for your Valentine’s Day evening.
Once we get to the weekend, all of this should be a faint memory. It will be a decent amount of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday. Highs Saturday will be in the upper 40s, while we warm up to about 53 on Sunday. But Mellish says the cure for cabin fever comes next week with highs in the 60s to near 70 by the middle or end of the week!
Roads and traffic
Despite the snow tapering off and the promises of some afternoon thawing, Mark Arum in the AM750 and 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center advised motorists to refrain from getting on the roads.
“If you can, hold off,” Arum said.“We’re not in the clear yet as far as the roads are concerned.”
Georgia Department of Transportation traffic cameras showed metro interstates nearly deserted during what would normally be the height of the morning rush hour.
Chandley said that with late-morning sunshine and temperatures above freezing, main highways that have been treated and scraped by road crews should be fairly clear. “Less-treated roads, no so much,” Chandley said, adding that some refreezing is possible Thursday night.
A spokeswoman for GDOT had no prediction early Thursday on when roads would be clear enough for routine travel.
“Now is not the time to get out on the road,” spokeswoman Natalie Dale told Channel 2 Action News.
“We’re not suggesting that anyone get out on the road today,” she said. “We do understand that people want to return to work, people are asking about when the opportunity might be. It’s not now.”
MARTA bus service was suspended for Thursday, as were Cobb Community Transit buses.
MARTA planned to begin limited rail service at 8 a.m.
Virtually all schools and colleges across metro Atlanta remained closed Thursday.
Georgia Power officials reported just over 240,000 customers without electricty at 9:30 a.m., while another 124,000 customers of the state’s electric membership cooperatives were also without power.
Power had already been restored to 159,000 Georgia Power customers and 51,000 EMC customers by Wednesday night, bringing the total number of utility customers affected by the ice and snow storm to more than a half-million.