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January 6, 2014

Ga. hunkers down for bone-chilling cold

ATLANTA —

Thermometers plunged below the freezing point Monday as Georgians hunkered down for a potentially record-breaking cold snap that threatened to keep pushing temperatures downward into single digits in northern parts of the state by Tuesday.

Little more than a dusting of snow and isolated patches of ice on roads were reported Monday morning from north Georgia to metro Atlanta. The winter weather was forecast to dry out across the state as things got colder. The National Weather Service predicted temperatures could reach 7 degrees or colder by Tuesday morning in cities including Athens, Rome, Cartersville and possibly Atlanta.

"This is severely cold for these parts," said Brian Lynn, a Weather Service meteorologist in Peachtree City. "Single digits are a rare event."

Even parts of southern Georgia often immune to winter weather were expecting bone-chilling temperatures. Savannah was forecast to hit a low of 18 degrees Tuesday morning, with Albany reaching 19 degrees.

The Weather Service had much of north Georgia under wind-chill warning, meaning wind gusts could drop conditions to a dangerous 15 degrees below zero or colder. Lynn said those conditions would mostly be felt only in the mountains. A wind chill advisory, meaning wind could bring chills up to 10 degrees below zero, was in effect as far south as Americus and the Savannah area.

Even without the threat of ice or snow, school systems canceled classes even in central Georgia. Bibb County closed its schools Monday because of temperatures expect to dip below 30 degrees after noon in the Macon area and held out the possibility of closing Tuesday as well.

Department of Transportation crews treated isolated icy patches Monday on state routes in northwest Georgia. Few problems were reported on metro Atlanta roads during the morning rush hour.

"We had crews come in last night at 10 o'clock, and they've been working the overnight hours, pre-treating the bridges and making sure all the equipment is ready to go just in case we need it," DOT spokesman Mark McKinnon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

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