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Precautions urged as precipitation possible
A-Cold Weather Moving in pic1
Stevie Harben, left, and Tim Satterfield load firewood to deliver to elderly Dawson County residents in need as winter weather moves into the area. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

There's a pretty good chance Dawsonville may see its first wintry weather this week as a freezing cold patch of air and precipitation moves into North Georgia as early as today.

With the hazardous weather outlooks, local emergency officials are urging the community make preparations for themselves.

"Check your heaters, your stoves, your fireplaces," said Dawson County Emergency Services Chief of Operations Tim Satterfield. "We've already had one house fire this year from the chimney."

They're also reminding everyone to check on elderly family members and neighbors.

"Make sure they are OK in the cold spell we've got coming through," said Satterfield, who spent his day off Monday delivering wood to senior citizens in need throughout the county.

A volunteer with the Dawson Christian Firefighters, Satterfield and the group have delivered more than two dozen loads of firewood in the last few weeks.

"There are so many people that heat with wood as their only heat source. We're just trying to help them keep up," he said. "It rained about every day last week, so they couldn't do as much they wanted to do, so we wanted to do what we could to help."

Stevie Harben oversees the Dawson County Senior Center's firewood program and utilizes inmate labor to split the wood, much of which is collected from right of ways across the county.

"I've got a couple of widow ladies that I keep a good eye out for. They ration their wood. One will only burn a certain amount each day," he said.

Others, he said, "won't tell us when they've run out."

Of the three families they helped on Monday, all three were completely out of wood.

"They have too much pride to ask for help, so I make sure I keep checking on them," he said.

Altogether, the group, which collects names of the elderly in need through the senior center's Meals on Wheels program, has provided firewood for nearly 100 homes.

"And the first thing we do when we get there is ask them if they have a smoke detector, and if they don't we give them one and install it," Satterfield said.

The National Weather Service's forecast calls for wintry precipitation beginning today and into tonight north of a line from Summerville to Dawsonville to Helen.

Wintry precipitation is also possible again Friday and Friday night, with northern and north central Georgia having the best chance for accumulation.