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Gov. Kemp declares state of emergency ahead of freezing temperatures

The coldest temperatures will begin this coming Friday and last until Monday.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a State of Emergency ahead of freezing temperatures moving into Georgia during the holiday weekend.

The governor said it would "help us ensure that essential supplies, especially propane, can be delivered for residential and commercial needs."

The governor said his office was still preparing the emergency order, but that it would take effect sometime today and last through midnight on Monday.

Russell McMurry, the Georgia Department of Transportation commissioner, also outlined an extensive plan over the following days to treat and brine roads ahead of the freezing conditions.

He said GDOT would treat state routes and interstates north of a line from Columbus to Augusta, and all of I-75 north of Macon to the Tennessee border.

McMurry said GDOT will be treating about 21,000 miles of roadways, and asked people to stay home and off the roads, if possible, as early as Thursday.

"We ask for your patience while you're out and about, we ask you to stay home if you don't have to travel, we will have to brine these roadways during the day," McMurry said.

He also cautioned that local roads were unlikely to get treated.

Kemp delivered remarks on preparations the state has in place to keep Georgians safe in a press conference on Wednesday.

The coldest temperatures will begin this coming Friday and last until Monday, with a cold snap sweeping through the Southeast. Though people will feel the temps falling all week, a stronger system is expected on Thursday night. 

That arctic blast will lead to a prolonged period of below-freezing temperatures. People can expect about 60 hours from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon if our current forecast verifies. 

This is when temperatures could fall into the teens, with wind chill values below zero on Saturday morning, which is dangerously cold. Atlanta has not seen temperatures this low since 2018. 

Are these normal temperatures for Atlanta? 

All transplants who came to escape the cold temperatures should know these kinds of temperatures are well below average for this time of year. The cold isn't just confusing Georgians either; temperatures may drop below freezing for areas as far south as central Florida.

Atlanta should be having lows in the upper 30s and highs in the mid-50s this time of year. Much of the eastern half of the United States is expected to be well below average for temperatures during the holiday weekend.

Preparing for cold weather

Cold weather like this is considered a serious risk for people, pets, plants and pipes. Here are some precautions to take ahead of the cold: 

  • Check on people in your neighborhood and community. Make sure those that struggle with cold conditions and find places to stay warm have a place to be sheltered from the cold.
  • Bring pets and plants indoors. 
  • Run water through the faucet to prevent pipes from freezing. 
  • Don't change the thermostat temperature too much to avoid pipes freezing and bursting.


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