There’s a snow storm rolling into Atlanta and it’s named Helena.
Helena is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of snow in the metro area. There’s a Winter Storm Warning in effect for portions of north and central Georgia starting Friday afternoon, Jan. 6, through 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. It goes into effect at 4 p.m. on Friday.
“The City of Atlanta is following guidance from Governor Nathan Deal and will dismiss all non-essential employees early, and all public employees and city residents are encouraged to be at home and off the roadways before precipitation begins,” a press release from the city of Atlanta says.
The city says its crews will begin working on 12-hour shifts during the storm to make sure the roadways are clear, while emphasizing that people should stay off the roads while the snow is falling and while crews are clearing the streets.
“Ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors is our highest priority during extreme winter weather events. We are working closely with our state and local partners to ensure we are fully prepared to respond to this weekend’s severe weather and will work around the clock to treat and keep roadways clear,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a press release. “I encourage everyone who lives, works or visits Atlanta to sign up for NotifyATL, our emergency notification system, and follow guidelines to keep your families safe during throughout the weekend.”
Atlanta Public Schools is also dismissing students early today.
“The staggered release schedule begins at 12:30 p.m. for elementary students, 1:30 p.m. for high school students and 2:05 p.m. for middle school students,” the press release says. “This plan carefully considers the need to get students and employees home prior to 4 p.m.”
The city’s response plans include:
– Deploying Department of Public Works personnel to pre-treat priority 1 and 2 bridges and roadways. Crews will work from 11 a.m. Friday through Monday, Jan. 9.
– Mobilizing City of Atlanta’s resources which include a total of 12 salt spreaders, 40 snow plows, 8 brine sprayers, 2000 tons of salt in hand, 1500 tons of aggregate and 10,000 gallons of brine. The City of Atlanta also has private contractors on standby if additional resources are needed.
– Utilizing NotifyATL, the emergency notification system for residents of Atlanta, to include the latest details regarding weather conditions, road closures and various aspects of the City’s response.
– Engaging the Ice Tracking Equipment Application with GPS tracking capabilities to allow the City of Atlanta to monitor roads in real time, and provide online information to the public.
– Opening the emergency overflow warming shelter at Old Adamsville Recreation Center on Friday, January 6 from 5:00 p.m. until Monday morning.
– To encourage families to stay safe, the Department of Parks and Recreation has canceled all recreation center activities for Friday, January 6 until Monday, Jan. 9, 2016.
– The City of Atlanta Municipal Court will close at 11:30 a.m. and will re-open at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 9. Reschedule notices will be sent to all defendants scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and 3 p.m. calendars.
– The City encourages residents and motorists to follow these guidelines to ensure their safety and prepare for inclement winter weather conditions.
The city is encouraging people to sign up for weather alerts through NotifyATL at www.atlantaga.gov/notfiyatl.
The city also recommends that residents:
– Store at least three days of food and non-perishable items in anticipation of severe weather conditions.
– Plan ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations.
– Make sure you have the proper emergency equipment in your car and home such as batteries for cell phones and chains for vehicle tires.
– When driving in icy road conditions, the shortest route is not always the safest. Consider less hilly routes to reach your destination.
Drive slowly. The faster you are driving, the longer it takes to stop the vehicle.