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Winter weather wait
DOT truck
A Georgia DOT truck readies for possible severe winter weather Sunday night and Monday. - photo by Submitted

Updates

For information about local school closings call (770) 887-2461 or go online at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.

Local and state officials are prepared for the return of severe winter weather expected tonight.

According to the National Weather Service, there is an 80 percent chance of snow tonight with low temperatures in the 20s.

For Monday, the chance of snow and sleet is 80 percent, with a 40 percent chance of freezing rain at night. Temperatures likely will hover in the high 20s.

The Forsyth County Emergency Management Agency began tracking weather developments Friday.

Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman, who also serves as local EMA director, took part in conference calls about the potentially hazardous conditions. In addition, fire vehicles and equipment were inspected.

"This has all of the ingredients to be a classic Southern snowstorm," Bowman said.

Members of the department's administrative and support staff are expected to come in to work tonight through Monday morning to monitor the situation.

Parents have several options for finding out about the status of school.

Forsyth County Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said the decision to cancel classes will be made before 5:30 a.m.

It will be posted on the district's Web site, with notifications also made through local and social media and the district's main phone line.

Parents who subscribe to Parent Portal, an online notification system, will receive an e-mail.

Caracciolo explained that several factors are considered in deciding whether to close schools.

School safety and transportation officials work with law enforcement to monitor road conditions near schools, to make sure access is available, but also to determine if roads are safe for buses and teenage drivers.

"We also look at the building conditions in the schools, because we have to see if they have power and heat," Carraciolo said.

If schools are closed, she added, then all after-school activities and athletics are cancelled.

Jodi Gardner, county government spokeswoman, said roads and bridges staff are prepared to work 12-hour shifts, if necessary, until the weather clears.

Teri Pope with the state Department of Transportation said its crews are prepared to take care of state routes and interstates.

"We get everything ready so that anytime we're needed we can be out on the road working within an hour of the call," Pope said.

Extra materials were taken to northern mountain counties, which are expected to take the hardest hit.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Tim House said the emergency operations center will open this afternoon.

"Our vehicles and personnel are prepared for the snow and ice if we get any," he said.