Just barely a week after ice and freezing rain downed an estimated 1,000 trees and left nearly a half inch of ice on surfaces across the county, Dawson County is once again bracing for a new wintry mix that is predicted to dump an estimated four inches of snow on the region.
According to the National Weather Service, the North Georgia region is under a winter weather advisory in effect starting this morning until Thursday morning. The advisory comes after a Tuesday storm warning.
The wintry cell has already left snow and sleet accumulation of up to an inch and is predicted to leave two to four inches of snow, with up to six inches of accumulation in higher altitudes possible.
"Precipitation may begin falling as early as mid-morning. This precipitation will become what [the National Weather Service] calls a moderate to high confidence event of snowfall from 4-6 inches," said Dawson County Emergency Services
Director Lanier Swafford on Tuesday. "This snow will fall fast, wet and heavy unless the forecast changes drastically."
Swafford said that the weather will impact travel throughout the day into the evening hours and could cause power outages and delays for Thursday morning commutes.
"Now is the time to prepare accordingly. Food, water, lanterns, safe alternative heat, check on the elderly, pick up prescriptions, have a ready kit in your automobile and plan to leave early enough tomorrow to get home before you find yourself stranded," he said.
"All of these type of situations are what emergency services were called on to try and address during the past winter weather event. Don't jeopardize your safety or that of others... prepare to stay at home."
The bout of weather last week knocked power out in the region for seveeral days in some areas.
Dawson County opened a warming center at Rock Creek Park to help those without power combat the cold and have a warm place to sleep.
According to Dawson County Commission Chair Mike Berg, 11 people signed in to the warming center. Of that 11, seven people used the showers and two stayed overnight.
"Our doctor, Larry Anderson, told us about the warming centers," said Wava Lavelle, who had been without power for nearly a day before she was forced to leave her home. "We filled our bathtubs with water to prepare, but I'm on oxygen, so when I was running low and it was getting so cold we could see our breath, my husband told me I needed to go here."
Lavelle said that a Dawson County Sheriff's officer came and picked her up and took her to the center at the park.
"They even brought my husband a heater," she said. "He's at home right now. He stayed to make sure our animals were OK."
While the conditions were less than ideal, Lavelle said that she had a place to plug in her electric oxygen concentrator and nighttime ventilator.
"It's been wonderful here. I'm very comfortable," she said. "We've got showers and hot coffee. They're treating me like a princess here."
The current weather cell is expected to bring an 80 percent chance of snow/sleet mix today around 2 p.m. with low temperatures at 30 degrees. Following that, the evening will bring a 90 percent chance of snow continuing through the night into Thursday morning.
For more information about snow closures, visit www.dawsonnews.com for up to date information.