The snow and sleet had stopped falling and traffic was moving again around Atlanta following a crippling storm – but officials warned that ice-covered roads remained a threat for drivers Thursday morning.
State officials were concerned with sub-freezing overnight lows potentially leading to layers of black ice coating roads that might appear to be safe.
Temperatures dipped into the teens overnight in the Atlanta area.
Authorities were hoping above-freezing temperatures would melt some ice and snow from slick highways. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s weather outlook for Thursday said temperatures were expected to rise above freezing between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. across the greater Atlanta area.
Earlier forecasts by the National Weather Service called for highs Thursday of around 38 degrees in Atlanta. But the temperature at Atlanta’s airport was just 19 degrees around 9 a.m. Thursday, casting doubt on those forecasts.
Heeding the warnings, school districts and state and local governments stretching from northwest to coastal Georgia announced that offices and classrooms would remain closed Thursday.
A storm that dropped just inches of snow Tuesday wreaked havoc across much of the South, closing highways, grounding flights and contributing to at least a dozen deaths from traffic accidents and a mobile home fire. Yet it was Atlanta, home to major corporations and the world’s busiest airport, that was Exhibit A for how a Southern city could be sent reeling by winter weather that, in the North, might be no more than an inconvenience.