Local News

February 9, 2014

Bad weather on the rise

A weather system moving through Whitfield and Murray counties tonight through Wednesday has the potential do drop up to three inches of snow and up to a quarter of an inch of ice, a forecaster said Sunday.

The system will come in two waves, the first of which is expected to move through tonight and during the day Tuesday, said Nikole Listemaa, with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

“It’s kind of a complicated weather pattern,” she said. “The first wave is going to be mostly snow and sleet. The second wave has the potential for icing.”

The area is under a winter storm watch from tonight at 7 until Wednesday morning at 7.

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the snow because the models used to predict weather “are not 100 percent in agreement,” Listemaa said. “What could happen is we look at a low pressure track across the area, but if the low track is further south, it can drag much colder air down. Even a 25-mile shift in a low pressure track could create major changes in precipitation amounts and types.”

Forecasters are more confident about tonight’s winter precipitation. There is a potential for between one to three inches of snow with some locally higher amounts, she said.

The heaviest precipitation should come into the area around 5 a.m. on Tuesday and should last through the day.

“Even a dusting of snow here could cause problems if the roads are not treated,” Listemaa said.

Temperatures are expected to drop to near freezing around 10 tonight or later. There is a chance of snow before that, she said, but it shouldn’t cause a problem before the temperature is below freezing.

The temperatures are expected to remain just below freezing into Tuesday. The high Tuesday is 36, but that could change, Listemaa said.

“There’s a pretty good chance you guys are going to get winter precipitation Tuesday night, but we don’t know about the amount or type,” she said. “There is potential for a significant amount.”

A significant amount of snow in this area is considered two inches or more, Listemaa said. A significant amount of sleet is a half inch, and a significant amount of ice is a quarter inch.

“Even a light, light glaze (of ice) on bridges and overpasses is very dangerous,” she said. “It makes the roads slick.”

The chance of wintery precipitation doesn’t diminish until Wednesday afternoon and evening, Listemaa said.

Thursday the temperatures are expected to be in the lower 40s and clear.

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