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Freezing weather expected

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany area residents could see a wintry mix of freezing rain and other precipitation late into the weekend and on into their morning commutes Monday, local emergency management officials say.

A strong arctic blast that will likely play havoc with Atlanta could bring the metro Albany area freezing rain and sleet as well as rain, Deputy Dougherty EMA Director Jim Vaught said.

"These things are often hard to predict, but right now, there is a line going from Dothan to Albany to Fitzgerald where generally we're saying that anything above that line will see freezing rain and just regular rain below it," Vaught said. "But just a one or two degree change could change that."

The concern, according to Vaught, are tree limbs which hang over power, cable and telephone lines. Those limbs can collapse under the weight of freezing rain. Also, bridges generally freeze over much more quickly than roadways.

"We'll be riding around through the night hours monitoring the roads and bridges with the county and DOT and we'll put out sand if any of them start to get slick," Albany Public Works Director Phil Roberson said.

The system is expected to push through Sunday afternoon and through the overnight hours into Monday morning.

"The best advice is to just use caution if you're out driving," Vaught said. "Ice, especially black ice, can catch you by surprise."

Black ice is a thin layer of ice that develops on roads but is nearly invisible to motorists, who can be unprepared to deal with loss of control of the vehicle if its tires lose traction on the ice.