Posted: Sunday, February 3rd 2013 at 10:18am
Ground Hog Day storm dumps 3-5 inches of snow in places in north Ga.
By Ken Stanford Staff
Some parts of north Georgia awakened to 3-5 inches of snow Sunday morning after a snowstorm that begin moving through the area early Saturday afternoon.
The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued a Winter Weather Watch for several mountain counties along the Tennessee and North Carolina state lines, warning of the possibility of up to an inch of snow and some slippery roads.
But as afternoon wore on and the snows continued to intensify, that advisory was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning, with the NWS predicting up to 5 inches in places.
All of this began just hours after Georgia's Gen. Beauregard Lee emerged from his bunker at the Little River Game Ranch in Lilburn and saw his shadow, meaning, according to ground hog legend, another six weeks of winter in Georgia.
Though the higher elevations, such as Fannin, Towns, and Union counties were the hardest hit areas, snow also fell in Habersham and White counties and as far south as northern Hall County. But south of there, it was mostly just rain as temperatures remained above freezing. The low in Gainesville at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport Sunday morning was 33. Hall County and surrounding areas were under a Winter Weather Advisory, for up to an inch of snow, overnight and until mid-morning Sunday.
Billy Hendrix of Gainesville says he was stuck for two-and-a-half hours on a snow-covered road on Blood Mountain in Union County until it could be cleared and made passable.
Georgia DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said late Sunday morning that crews were still working in Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun, Towns, Union and White counties. Pope said 25 dump trucks were currently "plowing snow and spreading salt and stone" to provide traction on bridges and roadways.
"A second shift of crews began work at 1 a.m. today," she added, "and will (continue) to work through 2 p.m. or until temperatures are above freezing and the danger of icing is gone."
Billy Cantrell, Georgia DOT Maintenance Engineer for Northeast Georgia, said isolated icing was occurring on bridges in higher elevations and urged motorists to "please stay off the roads until after temperatures are well above freezing.”
A quick warm-up is expected this week but there is a 20 percent chance of more snow in the mountains on Tuesday and rain elsewhere in north Georgia. Temperatures in Gainesville are expected to remain above freezing through Thursday, at least, after a low of around 28 Monday morning.
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