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Gov. Kemp declares state of emergency ahead of winter weather

Includes Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jones, Johnson, Laurens, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Treutlen, Twiggs, Washington, and Wilkinson counties

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency ahead of the winter weather in Georgia this weekend, according to his office.

The order will help free up resources if needed. Dozens of counties are listed in his order, which will go into effect Saturday, Jan. 15, at 11:59 p.m. Kemp signed it Friday evening, saying it will expire on Saturday. Jan. 22. at 11:59 p.m.

On Friday, Kemp held a news conference with other officials to discuss how the state was preparing for the winter weather. 

"We're throwing all the resources that we have available to this right now and we will throughout the storm," Kemp said. 

The declaration covers dozens of counties. Kemp and other utilities and transportation officials advised residents to prepare now and stay off of the roads as much as possible this weekend.

"The main message to my fellow Georgians is just be winter weather aware this weekend," he said. "We know for many this long weekend will probably lead to a lot of travel plans across the state. We just want to encourage everyone to stay up to date on the forecast."

A Winter Storm Watch has been expanded to now include several northeast metro Atlanta counties and all of North Georgia. A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for Rabun and Habersham counties ahead of the mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain. Get more details here.