According to the National Weather Service, an upper level low that moved across north Georgia last night, and with southerly winds, brings moisture. Precipitation ahead of the system falling through the cold, dry air was expected to fall as rain and sleet over the area before changing to rain before sunrise.
Because temperatures were expected to remain in the mid- to upper 30s overnight Monday and the relatively warm ground, the potential for heavy sleet or snow is limited. The NWS said although some slick spots are possible, especially on bridges and overpasses, travel problems should be minimal. Little to no snow accumulation is predicted.
Bartow County Emergency Management Agency Johnny Payne said Monday morning that the county was not expecting a large impact from the system moving through but preparations were made for the possibility of inclement weather.
“We’re always prepared,” Payne said. “We’ve already got our trucks and everything ready, got our people on standby. The [NWS] said more north is where it’s going to be.”
The best chance for rain, freezing rain or snow came between midnight and the early hours of this morning.
Roads could be the most susceptible, Payne said, because of frigid temperatures for several days. “We’ll just have to wait and see on that. I’ve already talked to public works and they’ve already got the stuff up [to prepare roadways].”
Joe Sutton with Bartow County Public Works said Monday afternoon that the department had six trucks loaded with calcium chloride, a salt of calcium and chlorine, ready to roll out if needed.
Sutton echoed Payne’s belief that roads might be the only area affected. He said typically the northern end of the county — Pine Log, Adairsville, and the Snow Springs and Johnson Mountain areas — and rural areas see the most adverse road conditions.
Should the county receive wintry weather, delivery of The Daily Tribune News could be affected. Readers are asked to wait until 10 a.m. to contact the office if they do not receive the paper this morning.
The forecast for today calls for rain before 1 p.m. with a high near 48.
Colder temperatures for February follow the fourth-warmest January on record, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the contiguous U.S., the average temperature for January was 36.3 degrees, which was 5.5 degrees above normal.
Nine states recorded their top 10 warmest average temperatures for January in 2012: Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Kansas. It has also been the fifth-warmest, six-month period from August 2011 to January 2012 ever recorded in the contiguous U.S. Forty states have had warmer-than-average temperatures.
The warm trend may continue through the end of February and into March, but temperatures are not expected to be as high as they were in January.
“It looks like the pattern will be similar for most of the country, but not to the same extent,” said AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston. “We are getting in a pattern where we’re more susceptible to cold air masses coming down. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to stay. They’re still going to be progressive. That means cooler temperatures will come in for only a few days, then disappear again.”
Intermittent stretches of cooler air will bring overall average temperatures closer to normal for the months ahead.
— Information from AccuWeather.com was used in this story.