A meteorologist with the National Weather Service says Forsyth County has accumulated as much as four inches (more in some areas of higher elevation) of snow as of 8 a.m. Saturday.
“The snow will start to die off and dissipate sometime in the next couple of hours,” said Forecaster Sid King. “Then, sky cover will break in the early afternoon, and temperatures could increase to around 38.”
He said the afternoon sunshine could melt away some of the hazardous road conditions, but whatever slush and snow is left will refreeze this evening as temperatures dip into the low 20s.
“Especially for this time of year, this is an abnormal amount of snow we’re seeing,” King said.
A mixture of snow, sleet and slush made for some problematic
commutes Friday, leading to the early closure of county schools, county
government and the city of Cumming as temperatures plummeted toward the mid-20s
As snow fell Friday afternoon some Forsyth County school buses reported having problems driving students home as frozen precipitation piled up on the roads.
Forsyth County Schools District Spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo confirmed there were three buses that had gotten stuck as of 1 p.m. Friday. The buses were taking students home early due to the weather conditions.
School and county officials helped get the buses going again, and by 3:30 p.m. all students had been taken home and all school staff were at home, Caracciolo said.
As of press time the wintry mix had also caused at least six
car wrecks around Forsyth County. There was only one person hurt in the
incidents — a non-life threatening injury, according to Cpl. Doug Rainwater, a spokesman with Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.
Reached by phone Friday, Caracciolo said the district was “trying to get everyone home safely. If [parents] want to come to the school to pick up their children today, we encourage them to do so. We will continue to run buses and stay in touch with [parents] …and schools will be in communication with them.”
Some parents reported getting an automated message from the school district Friday afternoon, asking them to pick up their students as conditions on the roads had worsened.
One of the messages stated that the school was “unsure if all of our buses will make it in a timely manner today … [and] recommending that parents come to school to pick up kids as soon as possible.”
Forsyth County Schools announced late morning Friday that the district would be dismissing students early, and that all after-school activities and athletics had been cancelled for Friday and Saturday.
In addition, both Forsyth County and City of Cumming governments announced that offices would be closed around lunchtime Friday due to the weather.
City of Cumming facilities will re-open at 8 a.m. Monday.
All Forsyth County operations were also closed, including county government offices, the Forsyth County Courthouse, the Animal Shelter, recycling convenience centers, Senior Services, and Forsyth County Parks and Recreation’s indoor and gated facilities. All Parks and Recreation programs and activities were cancelled as well.
With temperatures hovering just above freezing (34 degrees) Friday afternoon, snow and slush piled up on the roads in Cumming according to Sid King, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
“In Forsyth we’ve seen as much of two inches of snow so far,” said King Friday afternoon. “We have had quite a bit of snow and slush on the roads … it appears conditions are deteriorating … conditions appear to be getting worse.”
Added King: “Furthermore, it looks like this is expected to continue through the night. We could see an additional inch or inch-and-a-half throughout the morning before sunrise [Saturday].”
“Drivers should exercise extreme caution,” King said. “We would not advise driving during late night times Friday evening.”
He said the weather system would move rapidly out of the area beginning Saturday after sunrise, but that melted snow and ice could still cause issues throughout the weekend as temperatures dipped into the mid-20s Saturday night.
Some residents of Forsyth County took to the grocery stores to stock on essential food items.
Stephen Barnes of Cumming grabbed three gallons of milk and two loaves of bread from a Publix in northern ForsythCounty.
“I know it looks silly to some folks, the whole bread and milk thing, but I got two little girls at home I got to provide for, and what a lot of y’all call hysteria I call being prepared,” Barnes said, smiling. “Better safe than sorry.”
Two aisles down, Natalie Ferber of Forsyth County picked out the ingredients for a batch of cornbread.
“I pushed my shopping all week … and today was the day. I needed the supplies to make dinner,” Ferber said, adding that her first thought upon seeing the frozen precipitation fall from the sky Friday was: “Early snow for Christmas!”