Snowfall and windchills near zero were forecast for Douglas County and much of north Georgia Tuesday and Wednesday.
By the early hours of Wednesday morning, wind chill temperatures were expected to be near zero, possibly even dipping below zero, according to National Weather Service forecaster Kyle Thiem. The wind is expected to be blowing at 10-15 miles per hour with 20-30 mile per hour wind gusts. There was a wind chill advisory in effect as of Tuesday afternoon.
Thiem said temperatures are expected to be below freezing for up to 40 hours in Douglas County, dropping as low as the mid-teens Wednesday morning.
In addition to the freezing temperatures, snow was in the forecast for Tuesday. About half an inch to an inch of accumulation was projected as of Tuesday afternoon, Thiem said.
Since a dry snow is being forecasted, due to Tuesday’s warmer temps before the snowfall, the snow should melt as soon as it hits the ground. However, once the snow melts on the ground, freezing temperatures expected to follow the snowfall were expected to turn any melted snow on the roads into ice, Thiem said.
Meteorologist Chris Robbins at iWeatherNet said in a forecast update published early Tuesday afternoon that Douglas and other western counties could get more snow than the National Weather Service was forecasting.
"Some data continue to support the potential for mesoscale banding, especially in the western counties, which could cause locally higher snowfall amounts," Robbins said. "Total accumulations of 1-2 inches will be possible, especially in the western counties"
Emergency kits, water, blankets, and a charged phone are some of the tips Thiem offered for drivers who hit an ice patch and are waiting for help. Slower speeds and more space in between cars are also recommended for travelers. Anyone interested in finding out about the road conditions in their area is advised to call 511.
For homeowners, keeping faucets dripping throughout the night is recommended to prevent pipes from busting, according to Ark Restoration co-owner Doug Bailey. Two items that can be purchased from hardware stores to prevent pipe bursts are house bid protectors that go on the covers of outdoor spigots. Any families who are planning to be out of town during a cold snap should cut the gas off to the hot water heater, adjust the heater to between 64 and 66 degrees and make sure they know where all of the shutoffs are located at their home. Those who are still in their homes and have their pipes burst are recommended to shut off the home’s water as soon as possible, Bailey said.
Anyone who has a pipe burst can contact Bailey and Ark Restoration at 678-815-5016. The company has a 24/7 call policy.
Pet owners are encouraged to bring their furbabies into the garage or laundry areas to avoid the harsh wind chills expected, Bailey said. Owners are advised to frequently change the water, so a pet’s water doesn’t freeze over, resulting in your dog or cat becoming dehydrated.
“Adding extra bedding, pillows, anything you can do to help insulate whatever their dog house is, it’s going to benefit them greatly,” Bailey said.
The County prepared for the storm by bringing in extra DOT staff and more help for other emergency services, Emergency Management Director Jason Milhollin said. The Douglas County School System canceled all after-school activities on Tuesday afternoon, and Douglasville First United Methodist Church opened its doors again as a warming center on Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. The warming center opened at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and the center is going to open on Wednesday at 8 p.m., according to Milhollin.
Thiem said to look for things to warm back up Thursday, when temperatures should reach into the low 40s. He said temperatures should continue to gradually increase into the weekend when highs are expected to be in the upper 50s and low 60s.
“We’re going to have a good, cold stretch here for about two days, but we’re going to rebound pretty quick here by the weekend,” Thiem said.