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Area prepares for snowfall

ALBANY -- Let it snow!

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Fla., said Thursday Dougherty County will receive possibly 2 to 3 inches of snow today.

"It is going to start late tonight with a rain that will change over to a rain/snow mix by dawn Friday morning," said Mark Wool, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Thursday afternoon.

Dougherty County Emergency Management Director and Albany Fire Chief James Carswell said the snowfall is predicted to increase throughout the day.

"They (the National Weather Service) said there will be some accumulation during the afternoon but not necessarily on roadways," he said after a webinar update Thursday from the organization.

Carswell said Lee County is expected to receive 3 to 4 inches of snow.

"The problem we might face is if the snow accumulates on the roadways and freezes overnight, creating ice and hazardous driving conditions," he said. "The question is how much moisture will be on the ground for that to happen."

Wool said the low for tonight will be in the 20s, a prime temperature to freeze precipitation that has accumulated on roadways.

Albany Public Works Director Phil Roberson said snow generally tends to accumulate more on elevated surfaces such as roofs, overpasses and river bridges.

"The moisture from the water on river bridges drops the temperature surrounding that bridge and sometimes creates ice," he said.

Roberson said Public Works is monitoring the situation closely and is prepared to sand bridges and roadways if necessary.

"We will be riding around and testing road conditions throughout the day," he said. "We do it (sand the bridges) every year when there is a possibility of ice. The unusual thing about this time is that we have snow and ice."

Wool said a storm system developing in Texas in the Corpus Christi area and traveling east across the Gulf of Mexico will be bringing Southwest Georgia the unusual weather.

"As it tracks east, it strengthens and the low is far enough south to where it will not bring the warm air up to Georgia, keeping temperatures cool for the possibility of snow," he said.

Wool said the storm system's placement and the cold snap in Georgia is the perfect alignment for snow to occur.

The National Weather Service is also predicting snow for some areas of the Florida Panhandle.

"The snow will probably begin to dissipate around late afternoon," said Wool. "By 11 tomorrow evening, the snow will be gone."

The meteorologist said he had not seen this type of weather for Georgia or Florida in the 11 years he has worked for the National Weather Service.