The National Weather Service has placed all of North Georgia, including Douglas County, under a Winter Storm Watch until mid-to late-morning on Friday, Jan. 18. A Winter Storm Watch indicates that conditions may develop for winter precipitation. The National Weather Services does not anticipate issuing a Winter Storm Warning for Douglas County or the metro Atlanta area.
A “potent” upper level system currently above the Mississippi/Alabama state line will be moving westward/northwestward into Georgia on Thursday. Due to its slow movement and power, the low pressure area is bringing in cold weather behind it from the north, and moisture from the south.
The first “wave” of weather on Thursday should be all rain in Douglas County due to the warm atmospheric conditions, and should be ending early afternoon. The second “wave” of weather brings the colder temperatures with it, will be mainly rain in Douglas County, but may also have some mix of snow with it. The second “wave” of weather should get to Douglas County late afternoon/early evening tonight.
Douglas County has received between 2.5 to 3 inches of rain north of Interstate 20, and 2 - 2.5 inches of rain south of Interstate 20 to date. An additional 1 - 2 inches of rain is predicted before the system moves out on Friday.
The soil temperature in Douglas County is warm for January - about 56 degrees - so it will be difficult for any snow to stick should it be mixed in with the rain event. No accumulations are predicted for Douglas County. The National Weather Service estimates that there is only about a 20 percent probability of snow in Douglas County.
Black ice on bridges and overpasses, however, is likely tonight beginning about midnight. The temperature is anticipated to drop below freezing about midnight and not rise above freezing until mid-morning Friday. During that time, ice may form on surfaces where cold air is above and below the surface. Motorists are advised to be extremely careful when driving Thursday night and early Friday morning. The Douglas County Department of Transportation is aware of the predicted conditions and is mobilizing its crews to address any black ice issues that may arise.
Douglas County Emergency Management and Douglas County Communications are monitoring the weather through the National Weather Service and Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and will provide updates as needed.