• Gov. Deal issues a State of Emergency ahead of winter weather

    Updated:

    Several schools district announced they will be closed Wednesday due to winter weather.

    A winter storm warning has been issued for much of the metro Atlanta area from 10 a.m. Wednesday until 10 a.m. Thursday.

    The second round of winter weather is expected to bring up to several inches of snow in parts of north Georgia and the metro Atlanta area.

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    Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns said 2 to 4 inches of snow are possible in north Georgia, with up to 6 inches a possibility in the highest parts of the north Georgia mountains.

    GDOT PREPARATIONS

    The Georgia Department of Transportation has started implementing its winter weather plans.

    The tanks on the brine trucks were full and ready to go before they began to fan out across metro Atlanta and north Georgia interstates and highways at midnight Tuesday.

    Channel 2 investigative reporter Diamant spoke exclusively to GDOT’s commissioner Russell McMurry Tuesday, who said he was confident in his crews. 

    McMurry told Channel 2 Action News that his one worry was that crews were fighting off the fatigue factor, after a first round of winter weather last week.

    "You work on a little bit of adrenaline, but we have a lot of dedicated men and women that have been out there working," McMurry said.

    Hundreds of GDOT workers in plows and brine trucks hit the roads after a week of long shifts battling winter weather across metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

    "We certainly have plans and have the energy and resources to go at it again," McMurry said. "Confidence has grown in a moderate to high impact event."

    State agency leaders fine-tuned response plans Tuesday evening inside the Georgia Emergency Management Agency's operations center, making sure the right resources are in the right place at the right time.

    "We’ll elevate the activation level at four o'clock in the morning," McMurry said.

    The focus is on public safety, but what McMurry told Diamant the thing that keeps him up at night.

    "For me personally though, it's our men and women that are out there working in cold, wet conditions,” he said. "It’s pretty crazy when you're those plow drivers. It's a death grip on the steering wheel often, and those are the things that concern me."

    STATE OF EMERGENCY

    In response to the winter storm warning declared for 50 coutnies in the northern part of Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state government offices in the affected areas to close at noon tomorrow and declared a state of emergency for disaster preparedness starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday. 

    “With forecasts showing we could see accumulation by 4 p.m., I want to make sure we get as many commuters home before then as possible,” Deal said in a statement. “While current models show that temperatures will remain above freezing, we don’t want to run the risk of having normal rush hour traffic volume if there’s snow or ice on the highways. In an effort to keep as many cars off the road as possible, I encourage people in both the public and private sector who can telecommute to please do so tomorrow. 

    The 50 counties in the winter storm warning are Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Rockdale, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, Walton, White, Whitfield counties.

    According to a news release by the governor's office:

    "The Georgia Department of Transportation has moved 80 additional staffers into affected areas from other parts of the state. At midnight, DOT will mobilize 13 tanker trucks to apply brine to major highways. The State Patrol will deploy 174 troopers for rapid response to accidents, and it will mandate that all tractor trailers pull in to weigh stations to assure that trucks have the proper equipment for travel in snow/ice conditions. The Department of Natural Resources will place 15 strike teams across the 50 counties to aid in storm response and debris removal. "

    SCHOOL CLOSINGS

    Bartow, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, Clayton, Dawson, Douglas, DeKalb, Fayette, Fannin, Floyd, Fulton, Gilmer, Gwinnett, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Lumpkin, Paulding, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, and White Counties announced they will be closed Wednesday due to winter weather.

    Closings are updated here: REAL TIME SCHOOL CLOSINGS

    Atlanta Public Schools, Cartersville City Schools, Rome City and Marietta City Schools also announced they would be closed Wednesday. 

    Georgia Institute of Technology and Kennesaw State University are also closed Wednesday.

    Severe Weather Team 2 is tracking the winter weather around the clock.      

    Watch Channel 2 Action News and stay with WSBTV.com for the latest forecast updates. Follow us on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook to get the latest news and weather updates.

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