Georgia Department of Transportation workers are preparing for whatever the weekend's wintry mix brings, GDOT spokeswoman Melodii Peoples wrote in an email Thursday, Jan. 13.
Workers are loading and prepping brine trucks today, and they will roll out Friday, Peoples wrote. It takes about 24 hours to cover all state roads and interstates in GDOT District 1, which includes Dawson County and 20 other counties.
"We’re asking the public to give our brine trucks some space, if they see them on the road," Peoples wrote. "They’ll need to go about 40 mph to apply the treatment."
She recommended people stay home Saturday night and Sunday, if possible, and people can call 511 to report any down trees or power lines.
As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service forecast showed a 80% chance of precipitation in Dawson County Saturday evening until late Sunday night, which could include rain, snow, freezing rain and/or sleet. Forecasters will have more accurate predictions later today, Friday.
Some sleet or snow is likely this weekend, but how much remains uncertain.
“What we can tell you pretty confidently is we’re probably going to see some winter weather in Georgia,” said Dylan Lusk, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Peachtree City. “Exactly what that is going to be, whether it’s going to be snow, sleet, freezing rain, how much we’re going to get, how long it’s going to last, a lot of that is kind of up in the air.”
Saturday night in Dawsonville is expected to get as cold as 31 degrees, and Sunday’s high is expected to be 32 degrees, the forecast shows.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 12, models were still inconsistent, needing more data to nail down exactly what weather conditions are on the way and how much of it.
Lusk said a more accurate picture will be available in the next two days. The weather system moving in only passed Hawaii Wednesday morning, he said. The weather coming in could speed up or slow down by as much as 12 hours, either arriving earlier Saturday afternoon or later Sunday.
On its Facebook page Friday, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office encouraged people to plan on staying home and off the roads with snow and ice very likely.
“If it’s difficult for you to drive, it’s also difficult for us,” the post said, citing the potential for slower response times, power outages or road closures.
“Be smart! Plan ahead! Do not wait to get firewood!”, the post said.
Similarly, the Dawson County Government advised people via a Facebook post to be prepared for the next 72 hours with emergency supplies at home, at work and in their cars. The post reiterated guidance to stay at home and off of the roads.
People who have not signed up for emergency notifications can do so at:
Weather updates will be posted via Dawson County’s website and social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Nextdoor.
Georgia Emergency Management has a list of things residents should consider to prepare for a winter storm at https://gema.georgia.gov/plan-prepare/storms-disasters/winter .
The forecast shows warmer temperatures on Monday and Tuesday, with highs in the mid-40s, meaning any ice or snow the county could see over the weekend would likely melt early next week.
Julia Fechter contributed Dawson-specific information for this article.