Winter weather tips, contacts
Helpful hints to help you brave the cold weather months
Check on elderly and disabled people living alone. Make sure they are prepared for winter conditions.
Stock up on non-alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, hot chocolate and soup.
Maintain good nutrition and get plenty of rest.
Prepare your home
Have your furnace and wall heaters checked by a professional for safety.
Check all space heaters and keep them away from walls, curtains, and furniture.
If you have a gas heater or any gas appliances, invest in a carbon monoxide detector. (Carbon monoxide kills about 300 people in the U.S. every year.)
Replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and test the smoke alarms to make sure they work.
Check the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio. Charge cell phones and anything else that needs charging.
When using heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater or other apparatus, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.
Close off unused rooms.
Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
Cover windows at night.
Cover exposed plumbing fixtures and pipes or leave dripping when temperatures drop below freezing.
Prepare a survival kit with supplies needed to survive for a minimum of three days, including bottled water, nonperishable foods for family and pets, sleeping bags or bedding, extra clothes, medicine, flashlights, a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and a manual can opener. See a complete list of items.
Leave a porch light on to help power crews know when repair work is successful.
Disconnect or turn off any appliances that will start automatically when power is restored because if several appliances start at once, it may overload circuits.
Prepare your vehicle
Give your vehicle a maintenance check for tires, brakes, battery, heating and defrosting system and windshield wipers.
Keep your washer fluid full of a nonfreezing solution.
Change the antifreeze, if needed, to protect the engine and radiator from freezing in cold temperatures.
Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Pack and carry a winter storm survival kit, including: blankets or sleeping bags; additional warm clothing; a flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; high-calorie, non-perishable food such as candy bars; small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking; bag of sand or cat litter; shovel; windshield scraper and brush; booster cables
If you must drive ...
Plan your travel.
Check the weather before leaving.
Know numbers to call and Web sites to check for road conditions.
Let someone know your timetable and routes.
Watch out for your pets
Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.
Move animals to sheltered areas when possible.
Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
Have water available; many animals can die from dehydration in winter storms.
Sources: NOAA; Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
After an icy winter in 2014, North Georgia's relatively mild 2015 is about to take a turn for the worse.
"Although we have had some close calls recently that spared us from winter weather, the developing fronts indicate that will not be the case early next week beginning Monday," said Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for North Georgia from 1 a.m. Monday through Tuesday evening.
The weather service is predicting a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain across the region beginning Monday morning. Accumulations of up to 2 inches of snow and sleet are possible off and on through the day Monday, and up to a quarter inch of ice, though that forecast could change over the next several hours.
"If your department or business plans to delay or close during this event, please advise me by email and we at DCES will make every attempt to help get your message out," Swafford said.
Forecaster Carly Kovacik with the Weather Service office in Peachtree City said Saturday that more will be known by Sunday when the storm threat could be upgraded to a warning or an advisory. She said the precipitation could begin in the predawn hours Monday.
"That's the worst-case scenario," she said. "But if it arrives later, it could push stuff in after the morning commute."
The precipitation is expected to hang around throughout the day Monday as a wintry mix. Kovacik said temps should hover right around freezing or slightly above Monday, "so everything that falls won't accumulate."
"As we go through the day Monday, eventually we'll see some warming," she said. "Then it will be more sleet in your area, with a possible transition to freezing rain Monday overnight into Tuesday. There shouldn't be much accumulation and not much impact to power lines."
As temperatures warm Tuesday, it should change back over to rain, though Kovacik said the area may get another short period of snow flurries. The chance of snow continues until Wednesday, with another cold blast set to follow.
With a cold front moving in overnight into Sunday, surface temperatures will be cold enough to help accumulation. Temps will plunge into the upper teens overnight and not rise above the mid-30s Sunday, then head back into the lower 20s as the precipitation approaches.
Frozen moisture on roadways could cause hazardous driving conditions, particularly on side streets, bridges and overpasses. Motorists are advised to stay off the roads if possible Monday.
"Personally and professionally - prepare now. This storm will likely impact areas south of Atlanta, so commuters take heed," Swafford said.
Most area school systems already are out Monday for the Presidents Day holiday, though some private schools and colleges could have schedules affected by the weather.
"Fortunately county offices are closed Monday and schools are closed Monday and Tuesday," Swafford said. "Falling temperatures and wind chills will be brutal during the overnight and temperatures will remain at or around freezing tomorrow. Please protect outdoor vegetation, pets, pipes, and the elderly or those who may live alone."