You may, or may not, have heard of the possibility that some parts of northeast Georgia could see a brief period of a wintry mix early Saturday morning. While this is true, the chances of that happening, as well as the impacts, are quite low. While temperatures will be close to freezing in some spots northeast of a line from Athens to Gainesville to Ellijay, the amount of moisture arriving early Saturday morning will be very limited. There very well could be none at all.
First the set up. I’m sure your aware of the cold air moving across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. That cold air will arrive here on Thursday as a cold dome of high pressure expands from the Midwest to East Coast. That area of high pressure will eventually move eastward and reposition itself across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic setting us up for the classic wedge of cold air near the surface that so often occurs this time of year.
Temperatures across the northeast corner of Georgia will drop to near freezing in a few spots early Saturday morning with the coldest readings being located across Habersham, Rabun, Towns and Union County. This is where the greatest likelihood of any wintry mix occurring would be. Most locations though in northeast Georgia should remain above freezing lessening the chance of any wintry mix developing. Meanwhile lows will only drop into the upper 30’s to lower 40’s in and around the metro area, and locations west, southwest and south of Atlanta will remain well outside of the wedge with lows only dropping into the mid to upper 40’s. Safe to say that if anything falls from the sky in and around metro Atlanta it would fall as rain.
Last but not least is the amount of moisture. Right now it doesn’t appear that the return of moisture will be that great early Saturday morning with most of the rain holding off to the west. If that is the case then little if anything will be falling early Saturday morning.
Of course all of this could change, but even if we were to get some icing in far northeast Georgia the good news is that by afternoon the temperatures will be in the 50’s melting anything that may have frozen earlier in the day. As the say….Stay tuned!
ARCTIC COLD: Another blast of arctic air is descending upon north Georgia with the possibility of record low temperatures and dangerous wind chills. Lows Thursday and Friday will drop into the 5 to 15 degree range. The record low in Atlanta Thursday morning is 13 set in 1958, and the record low Friday is 16 set in 1934. Both have a chance of being broken or tied. Along with the brutal cold winds will be coming out of the northwest at 10-20 mph creating wind chill readings in the -5 to +5 range here in metro Atlanta and in the -15 to -5 range across the higher elevations of the mountains.
In these types of conditions it is important to not leave you skin exposed to the cold, and dress in many warm layers.
WINTRY PRECIP: By Friday the focus will shift to another storm system moving in from the Southwest that could initially spread a wintry mix across north Georgia late Friday and early Saturday. Right now it appears that the initial precipitation will be light. By late Saturday as the heavier moisture builds in temperatures will warm to the point that all precipitation turn to rain. A Winter Weather Watch has been posted for Friday afternoon through Saturday Afternoon.
Bitter cold air returns from the Arctic later this week, and will eventually cover the entire eastern half of the country. By next week parts of north Georgia may even see a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow.
BITTER COLD: Very cold air will start to arrive by Thursday with the coldest air getting here by Sunday. Daytime highs can generally be expected to be in the 40s with highs Sunday only in the 30s. Overnight lows will be in the 20s Thursday through next Monday with the coldest morning on Sunday with lows in the teens.
WINTRY MIX: By next Monday moisture will start to move in from the southwest as cold air continues to linger to our north. As the rain moves in late Monday night there is a good possibility that the initial precipitation will begin as a mixture of rain, sleet and snow before finally changing over to all rain. The most likely area would be in northeast Georgia.
By Tuesday temperatures will be above freezing with just rain falling across the Southeast. By late Tuesday and early Wednesday colder air will push in behind the front. If there is enough moisture left over then we could see some snow as the system comes to an end. Certainly something that we will be keeping an eye on quite closely.
Here is a look at what we can expect early Wednesday morning across north Georgia. Remember that whatever falls will be light and where snow or sleet mixes in it should melt on contact. By 5am some of the light rain may start to mix with sleet or snow from just north of Canton to Rome to Cedartown.
As we look at 6am the area of wintry mix will continue northwest of Atlanta. Temperatures will remain above freezing so what falls will melt on contact.
Remember that while this is occurring there could be light snow in the higher elevations of the north Georgia Mountains that is not showing up on our computer model. Temperatures in the mountains will be close to freezing so some of the snow could stick on grassy surfaces and briefly on roadways. Accumulations of less than a half-inch are possible. As the morning progresses temperatures will rise into the upper 30s so any snow will melt.
The sleet/snow will end quickly leaving an area of rain just south and east of Atlanta by 7am and that rain will continue to move south and east and gradually end throughout the morning. By afternoon look for mostly cloudy skies and highs only in the mid to upper 40s.
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