WEATHER-TRAFFIC UPDATE: Congestion building as Atlanta prepares for another chilly evening

ATLANTA FORECAST

Thursday: High: 49

Thursday night: Low: 35

Friday: High: 51

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.

It’s significantly warmer in Atlanta than it was this morning, reaching 50 degrees earlier this afternoon, which is actually a degree warmer than predicted. It’s not expected to last long, though.

Like the temperature, traffic also heated up this afternoon, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center

Delays from I-285 near South Cobb Drive to Ga. 400 have increased to 30 minutes after an earlier wreck cleared, and evening commute volume hasn’t let the interstate recover, the Traffic Center reported.

Not far away, roadwork on the right lane of I-75 South at the I-575 merge is causing several minutes of backups in Cobb County, the Traffic Center reported.

In Hall County, a wreck has shut down Spout Springs Road at Deaton Henry Road, the Traffic Center reported. Union Church Road is recommended as an alternate.

Although it’s hard to imagine since morning temperatures were in the 20s, Thursday is warmer in metro Atlanta than it was Wednesday. There is less of a breeze Thursday, so the wind chill is not as severe, according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton.

On 10th and Peachtree streets in Midtown, the temperature plunged to 29 degrees early Thursday. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

High pressure drifting in from the south will help to warm things up Thursday afternoon, but Minton said temperatures near 50 will be short-lived. 

“Once that sun gets low in the atmosphere and it sets at 5:29 p.m., then temperatures start dropping,” she said. “By 9 p.m., we're looking at the upper 30s for far North Georgia.”

While it may be cold outside, it’s not wet. That comes this weekend, according to the latest forecast.

 

A cold, soaking rain is expected to push into North Georgia on Saturday morning and stick around through the weekend. Saturday has an “awful” 100 percent chance of rain, Minton said, and Sunday’s chance is not much better at 90 percent. 

With high pressure wedged down the Appalachians, she said she expects there to be a strong east wind, too. 

“I’ve seen some numbers for winds on Saturday to be 25 to 30 mph, so it’s going to be nasty to be out there,” she said. 

 

On Sunday, a colder air mass could make its way into the northeast corner of the state, making sleet or snow possible. Above-freezing temperatures are still forecast for the weekend and into Monday morning, Minton said. 

“It's still a little early to fine-tune exactly how cold it is going to be, how shallow this layer is going to be, but there could be that winter precipitation over parts of northeast Georgia,” she said. 

While the weather models are lining up in terms of timing, Minton said it remains uncertain where the wintry mix could fall.

“The primary spots to get freezing precipitation would be in the higher elevations of North Georgia, but we can’t exclude parts of eastern metro Atlanta, either,” she said. “There could be some spots that will pop in and out of it.”

The threat of accumulating snow over the northeast Georgia mountains is increasing, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said Wednesday afternoon. Those north and east of White, Habersham and Lumpkin counties should keep an eye on the forecast, he said.

A winter storm watch could be issued later today, according to Channel 2.

MORE: Wintry mix more likely for Georgia mountains, inches of snow possible

 

“Stay with us for updates over the next couple of days,” Monahan said.  

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