Winter weather could be coming to Forsyth County and surrounding areas this weekend, and local agencies are getting ready.
According to the National Weather Service, Forsyth County and other areas of northeast Georgia are expected to be impacted by possible “significant accumulations” of snow and ice Saturday evening through Sunday night, which could cause major travel disruptions and power outages.
As of press time, Forsyth, along with most of north Georgia, was part of a winter storm watch issued by the NWS, while some counties in west Georgia were part of winter storm and ice storm warnings.
“The rain will begin mixing with and changing to snow after midnight on Saturday night and switch to mainly snow over far northeast Georgia with a mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow over the rest of north Georgia during the day Sunday,” NWS officials said in a special weather statement early Friday morning. “Light snow or snow flurries will be ending from west to east Sunday evening.”
NWS projections show Forsyth County potentially receiving less than six inches of snow, wind gusts between 30-40 mph and up to .25 inches of ice.
On Friday, Forsyth County Emergency Management Director Chris Grimes met with several local agencies to form a plan for how the county will deal with the weather.
“We actually have been having briefings on the weather since earlier this week,” Grimes said. “We’ve been meeting every day with our key partners, watching the changing forecasts and making sure we have the latest information from the National Weather Service and others as we prepare for the weekend.”
He also advised that local residents prepare a disaster supply kit, which includes items like a gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, three days’ worth of food, a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, flashlights and extra batters, first aid kits and other supplies.
“This is a great time to make sure you’ve got the things in your emergency kit that you need and prepare for power outages,” he said.
Grimes added that the combination of wind, ice and snow could mean downed trees and power outages and that if anyone loses power and uses a generator, they should “always be used outdoors.”
Tips for disaster supply kits can be found at https://www.forsythco.com/Departments-Offices/Emergency-Management-Agency/Preparation.
Forsyth County residents can sign up for emergency and weather alerts and report storm damage at https://www.forsythco.com/Departments-Offices/Emergency-Management-Agency/Weather.
Due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Forsyth County Schools and offices for Forsyth County and the city of Cumming were already planned to be closed on Monday, Jan. 17
Any weather updates for Forsyth County Schools can be found at https://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/page/554.
Any potential closing will be posted on the school systems website and social media accounts, through a voice recording at 770-781-2461 and through media outlets.
Local power companies are also preparing for the storm.
Officials with Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation said in a news release the company is tracking the storm and has activated an emergency response plan.
“Staff is prepared to respond to any outages and crews will be strategically staged throughout our service area,” the release said.
Outages can be reported by Sawnee EMC’s app, at Sawnee.com or by calling 770-887-2363.
Customers can also report outages by texting 678-999-8124 and providing their account number or by texting “OUT” to 768482 if customers have already enrolled in Smart Hub
Officials with Georgia Power said they are also focusing on the storm, and customers can go to http://www.georgiapower.com/storm to sign up for outage alerts, report and chuck the status of outages and find other safety tips and information. The company can also be contacted at 888-891-0938.