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Winter weather updates: GDOT warns drivers as it salts roads to ward against freezing

Metro ATL

Winter weather updates: GDOT warns drivers as it salts roads to ward against freezing

A photo of Georgia DOT salt barn activity. Photo provided by GDOT.

This story has been updated. 

Atlanta, GA — The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Monday afternoon, Feb. 15, that crews are treating roadways with brine to protect them from “flash freezing” that could occur overnight.

The National Weather Service is warning about the potential for “black ice” on area roads as a result of plummeting temperatures. According to Weather.com, black ice is a “thin coat of highly transparent ice.” That makes it impossible for drivers to see.

GDOT advised drivers to be on the lookout for its road crews as they work to treat roads before the freeze.

“The Georgia Department of Transportation began brine treatment this afternoon in parts of the metro Atlanta area in preparation of potential flash freezing due to precipitation this afternoon followed by cold air coming in quickly this evening,” GDOT announced. “Crews in metro Atlanta will be treating interstates, state routes, bridges and overpasses with salt on the west side of the city, until 7 p.m., and again starting at 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. After that, additional crews will continue efforts as needed. Motorists are advised to avoid unnecessary travel in these areas. Please be aware of the brine trucks in your areas given they must travel 40 mph to properly apply the treatment. Pay attention to Georgia DOT trucks spreading materials and stay back a safe distance.”

Gov. Brian Kemp has delayed the opening of state government on Tuesday, Feb. 16 due to the inclement weather.

“In consultation with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, my office is postponing the opening of all state offices for two hours on Tuesday, February 16th due to potential inclement weather,” he said. “I encourage all school systems to monitor the situation closely and make decisions on any potential closures in coordination with their local emergency management officials.”

Some local school districts have resumed in-person learning, including City Schools of Decatur and Atlanta Public Schools. City Schools of Decatur is out on winter break. Atlanta Public Schools has announced a two-hour delay to the school day on Tuesday. Here’s the full announcement from APS:

Due to the anticipated inclement weather including the potential for ice on the roadways overnight and in the morning, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will operate on a two-hour delay on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

As such, if a child’s normal bus pick-up time is 6 a.m., they should expect that pick-up to occur at 8 a.m. APS staff should report to schools and office buildings two hours later than their normal reporting time with the exception of essential facilities staff.

APS expects normal operations during the day on February 16 and a normal end time to the school day. However, District administrators are closely monitoring weather conditions and will provide updates if any further schedule changes become necessary.

Students at DeKalb County Schools are virtual, but teachers are working in the buildings. The school district is closing all of its buildings tomorrow. Virtual learning will continue. Students were out of school today due to the President’s Day holiday. Here’s the full announcement from DeKalb County Schools:

Due to inclement weather and the potential for black ice and unsafe road conditions, all DeKalb County School District schools and administrative offices will be closed. Remote learning will resume on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. For more information, please visit www.dekalbschoolsga.org.

The city of Atlanta is opening up a warming center. Here’s the full announcement from the city:

ATLANTA—The City of Atlanta announced the opening of an emergency warming center in anticipation of frigid temperatures. The center will open tonight, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 at 11:00 p.m. and will remain open through Wednesday, Feb. 17 2021 at 10:00 a.m. The warming center is located at the former Ramada Hotel, 450 Capitol Avenue S.E., Atlanta, GA 30312.

Please note: all dates and times of operations are subject to change in accordance with local weather.

Those in need of additional assistance can contact the City by dialing 311 (inside Atlanta City limits) or 404-546-0311.

The DeKalb County Board of Health will delay opening of COVID-19 testing and vaccination centers on Feb. 16 due to the inclement weather. Here’s the full announcement from the Health Board:

DECATUR, Ga. – Due to forecasted black ice and low temperatures Tuesday morning, all DeKalb County Board of Health locations, including the testing site in East Atlanta (Greater Piney Grove) and vaccination sites in Doraville and Stonecrest will operate on a delayed schedule.

Hours of operation for all health centers and COVID-19 vaccination sites will be 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Hours of operation for the Greater Piney Grove COVID-19 testing site will be 11:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Those individuals with testing appointments scheduled are being notified and provided options to reschedule or register for testing at another location, including testing sites in neighboring counties.

Individuals with vaccination appointments scheduled before 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday or have the option of being vaccinated after 11:00 a.m. or on Wednesday.

Appointments and registration for COVID-19 testing is required and available online. To ensure testing resources are available for individuals who have pre-registered for testing on their scheduled date and time, pre-registrations will be verified to ensure that the appointment date matches the actual day. Individuals scheduled for a future date will be asked to return on their scheduled day. COVID-19 testing is free and open to all individuals who wish to be tested. A driver’s license or identification card is not required.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine or call 888-357-0169.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

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