Low temperatures expected to hit Clayton

By Ed Brock

Being from Arizona, 18-year-old Sonia Burkholder isn't used to the kind of cold that is expected to ice over Clayton County tonight.

"I don't even have a real jacket," said Burkholder, who lives in Morrow. "My mom got me one for Christmas, but I can't wear it until Christmas."

Burkholder may want to break the Christmas rules as the low temperatures tonight are expected to drop into the low 20s, according to Gerald Birdow, hydro-meteorological technician at the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

The high is expected to be in the lower 40s and in the mid 40s by Wednesday. Wednesday night the low will be in the mid 20s and by Thursday the high will be in the lower 50s with the low up into the 30s.

"It should start moderating by Wednesday night," Birdow said.

Because of the approaching cold front the weather service issued a freeze warning on Monday urging "those with agricultural interests" to harvest or protect tender vegetables. Potted plants should also be brought inside.

Walker Nursery on Walt Stephens Road in Jonesboro was taking precautions Monday.

"The first thing we do is make sure everything is well watered," said Walker manager David Satterwhite.

When the water freezes on the rootball of the plant it maintains the internal temperature at around 32 degrees, preventing further damage, Satterwhite said.

Employees at the nursery have also been bringing tender plants inside, and the nurseries greenhouses have been covered for some time.

"That's about all we can do," Satterwhite said.

There's been enough rain lately to provide protection for most trees around the area, but Satterwhite recommended making sure the roots of new trees and plants be well covered in mulch.

Some pets should be brought indoors as well, said Dr. John McMillian at the Jonesboro Animal Hospital, depending on several factors.

"A big German shepherd with a good long hair coat might be all right if he can get out of the wind," McMillian said.

Smaller dogs with short hair, younger or older dogs should probably be brought inside. A dog suffering from moderate hypothermia, with a body temperature between 82 and 90 degrees, stiffness, weakness and trouble breathing, should be brought to a veterinarian.

Janis Adams of College Park was going to make sure her heater was set at the right temperature on Monday night.

"They say drip your water to keep your pipes from freezing. I'm going to do that," 45-year-old Adams said.