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South Georgia sees winter snowfall

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Albany residents were seeing white Friday afternoon when much-anticipated snow began falling in a constant wave.

People began pouring out of business offices and government buildings downtown when the white stuff started coming down around 3:30 p.m. and accumulating on treetops and grassy areas around 5:30 p.m.

Many pedestrians were seen with their tongues out trying to catch snowflakes, and one couple frolicked across the street to the courthouse during the snowfall.

Dougherty County school children were able to enjoy the late-afternoon snowfall because classes were canceled Friday because of the wintry weather.

Americus closed its Government offices early in the day Friday, and many businesses in Lee County followed suit. Heritage Bank closed its doors Friday afternoon at 4 o'clock.

Georgia Department of Transportation said Friday maintenance crews in district four in Southwest Georgia were starting to treat roads and bridges for snow and ice. Randolph County was one of the 32 counties with a high percentage of ice on the roads.

No federal or state routes were closed due to the wintry weather Friday.

Tim Barry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, said the snow got a late start in Dougherty County.

"We had projected that the snow would start during the early morning hours, but it seems it was delayed until the afternoon," he said.

Friday afternoon, meteorologists were predicting that the snow would begin to taper off during the evening and eventually stop snowing by today.

Dougherty County Emergency Management Director and Albany Fire Chief James Carswell said Friday the problem with the late-afternoon snowfall is the increased chance that ice could form overnight due to colder conditions.

"We got about 1 to 2 inches of snow, and Public Works will continue to monitor the conditions. If ice does appear on bridges or overpasses, they will be out sanding them," he said.

Carswell said South Georgians who are unaccustomed to driving in icy conditions need to be cautious on the roadways early today.

"People need to try and stay off the roads this weekend unless it is

necessary," he said.

Barry said the National Weather Service is urging the Dougherty area to beware of icy road conditions.

"The possibility for black ice is very high," he said.

Meteorologists said Friday the snowfall will bring colder temperatures today with a high of 45 and lows in the 20s.

"It will not be like anything we experienced in the beginning of January," said Barry Friday. "It will be unseasonably cold, however."

Meteorologists are predicting another cold front to cross over the area on Sunday. That front is expected to bring more precipitation, just not of the snow variety.

"For now, we are predicting only a 30 to 40 percent chance of rain, which may linger into Monday," said Barry.