WEST FORSYTH — The third time appears to be the snowy charm for Forsyth County, just as weather forecasters have been predicting.
Businesses were asked to let employees go early Wednesday so they could get a jump on the frozen precipitation, which begin falling about 3 p.m.
The weather front is the second in three days and third in two weeks, and emergency and weather officials expect it to bring the most snow.
Grocery store parking lots filled as shoppers stocked up on items in case the power went out, as it did early last week across large parts of Forsyth.
Jean Croft, the executive director of The Goddard School for Early Childhood Development, filled her trunk with supplies at the Kroger on Bethelview Road and Hwy. 20, but she didn’t have an extreme amount of any one item.
“I’m just getting snacks, ice cream, donuts, hot dogs, coffee,” Croft said. “Comfort foods.”
She said her school houses about 250 children and 40 staff. They haven’t canceled a day yet, though they let out early Wednesday.
The widespread early releases — Forsyth County’s government and courts closed at 1 p.m. and the city of Cumming at 2 p.m. — coincided with Gov. Nathan Deal declaring a state emergency.
The declaration applied to 51 north Georgia counties, including Forsyth, and took effect at 2 p.m. State offices closed at noon in the hopes of avoiding a recap of the massive traffic jams and evening snowfall in January 2014.
In a news release, Deal said that 80 additional Georgia Department of Transportation workers and 15 “strike teams” had been moved into areas expecting snow and freezing rain.
Forsyth County’s emergency operations center reopened Wednesday after briefly shutting down at the beginning of the week. Decision-making representatives from the sheriff’s office, fire department, emergency personnel, the 911 center and school system were present. They will monitor the weather throughout the night, dispatching personnel as needed.
According to a weather forecast that seemingly changed by the minute, a total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches was possible, with heavy snow lasting through 3 a.m.
Forsyth residents could awake Thursday morning to about 6 inches of snow before the afternoon high temperature climbs near 42 degrees.
Friday and Saturday are also expected to reach 42, but should also bring some sun.
The forecast did not lead to a decision on whether Forsyth County Schools would be closed or delayed Thursday. That likely will come, at the latest, by 5:30 a.m.
The district called off school Tuesday and Wednesday after students had a normal day Monday.
Last week, schools were open only on Friday, as Monday, Feb. 16 was the President’s Day holiday. Ice, frigid wind and lingering power outages prevented classes from happening Feb. 17-19.
Feb. 17 and 18 will be made up with the district’s two built-in inclement weather days on March 16 and April 3. Feb. 19, Tuesday and today were the system’s first-ever online/itslearning days.
That meant students were assigned work on the district’s virtual, asynchronous — or not at the same time — learning portal. They will have five school days after they return to complete assignments from each teacher.
Online learning days follow a seven-period schedule for high schools.