Published Thursday, January 17, 2013
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
On Wednesday, Cowetans saw highs in the 60s.
Today, we may see some snow, and some may even stick.
The National Weather Service is predicting that a wintery mix of rain and snow will move through Coweta starting between 4 and 7 p.m. today.
Temperatures still will be above freezing at that time, so any accumulation probably will only be on grassy areas.
“What we are going for is a 10th of an inch... it will probably show up as a trace, if that,” said Alex Gibbs, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
Friday morning, however, could be treacherous for drivers.
The Coweta area will drop below freezing around 1 a.m. Friday, Gibbs said.
“There is going to be so much water on the roadways... we think everything is going to turn into black ice,” Gibbs said.
(To check current weather conditions in downtown Newnan, click on the following link to The Newnan Times-Herald Weather Station: http://www.times-herald.com/weather/ )
Friday’s forecast is for sunny skies and a high of 49, but temperatures in Coweta won’t get above freezing until around 9 a.m. It likely will take an hour or two after that for all the ice to melt, Gibbs said.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is warning of possible black ice as far south as Columbus early Friday.
Bridges and overpasses are the most dangerous, as ice forms there first and melted ice can refreeze quickly. And conditions are expected to be worse farther north.
The GDOT is urging motorists to stay off roadways if possible.
If you must drive on the ice, “please slow down, engage the lower gear of your vehicle for additional traction and use extreme caution particularly as you approach bridges,” said Meg Pirkle, GDOT operations director.
In addition to the wintery precipitation, high winds are forecast. Tonight, sustained winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour with 25 mph gusts are expected. Friday, winds are forecast for 10 mph with gusts as high as 20.
Those winds, along with rain and ice, can lead to downed power lines or fallen trees and possible power outages.
If you approach a traffic light with no power, it should be treated as a four-way stop. If a signal flashes yellow, cautiously proceed through the intersection, Pirkle said. If it flashes red, stop and wait for a safe time to proceed.
Whatever water remains on roads will refreeze Friday night, when the forecast low is 24.
Saturday’s forecast is for sunny skies with a high near 56 and a low of 31. Sunday’s forecast is also for sunny skies with a high of 56, but temperatures are expected to drop to 26 overnight Sunday.
Today’s rain system will be the last one for at least a few days, according to Gibbs. No more rain appears in the short term forecast, so Cowetans might get a chance to dry out.
It’s certainly been a wet few weeks.
The Atlanta-metro area ended December with a total of 5.93 inches of rainfall, well above the 30-year average of 3.9 inches.
The Newnan Times-Herald weather station in downtown Newnan recorded 0.43 of an inch Monday, 0.19 of an inch Tuesday, and 0.44 inch of an Wednesday for a total of 1.71 inches so far in January.
The 30-year average rainfall for January is 4.2 inches.
Areas of Coweta have measured almost one and a half inches of rain since Sunday.