A winter weather advisory was issued for Newton County by the National Weather Service, advising residents of a strong chance of snow and ice Thursday afternoon and evening with near record-low temperatures.
Although Thursday temperatures were higher then the rest of the week, they began to drop steadily in the afternoon due to a fast-moving cold front. Low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico was expected in Florida, bringing Georgia precipitation. Because of the temperatures, it is expected that precipitation will come in the form of rain, snow and sleet. Light snow was expected from late afternoon through the night.
In Newton County, officials are concerned more about ice that may accumulate than snow that the county may receive. All emergency personnel are preparing for inclement weather by using a mix of common sense and vigilance.
"We monitor the weather pretty closely," explained Covington Fire Chief Don Floyd.
He urged citizens to stay inside if the roads are icy and to make sure that heaters are used and installed properly. He also cautioned residents to use only the correct fuel for heaters and non-treated wood for fireplaces.
"Don’t accidentally put gasoline in a kerosene heater," he said. "It could be fatal. Make sure to open the damper on fireplaces and if any power lines fall stay away from them. If they happen to fall on your vehicle and you are inside stay inside your vehicle and call 911."
The Newton County School System had not cancelled classes as of press time."The district will continue to monitor the weather and road conditions into the night. If a decision is made to cancel or delay the opening of school, the announcement will be made and delivered though an automated phone call to parents," said Sherri Viniard, Director of Public Relations for the NCSS.
"The school superintendent monitors the weather forecasts and keeps in constant communication with the Sheriff’s Office and our District Transportation Department as they are more aware of the road conditions. If it is decided the roads are just not safe enough for transporting the students, the decision is made to either close school or delay the opening until conditions improve. Any decision to change the status of the school day is made by 6 a.m. At that time, we immediately initiate our rapid notification system to inform parents and employees. We use our School Messenger phone system to notify parents and each school also has its own notification system they use to inform employees. We contact our local media and all of the major metro-Atlanta media outlets about our school status."
For those in the county concerned about stocking their pantries with staples, according to Kroger, they will be prepared.
"Kroger strives to provide our customers with the quality products they want and need year-round, including during inclement weather events," says Glynn Jenkins, director of communications and public relations for Kroger’s Atlanta Division. "We anticipate sales spikes among household staples — such as bread, eggs, milk, bottled water, hot cereals, as well frozen dinner entrees and soups and snacks — that many individuals and families like to keep on hand when they don’t want to be out in bad weather."