0

Temperatures drop as fall weather creeps into Clayton

By Ed Brock

Deborah Clark had her denim jacket draped over her shoulders on Monday afternoon, a reminder of the autumnal temperatures that kept that morning well chilled.

“I don't know if I like the chilly weather. I always get cold,” said Clark, a librarian at the Clayton County Headquarters Library in Jonesboro.

Others on the staff shared her discomfort.

“We were all freezing this morning,” said Carol Stewart, director of Library Services. “It was 69 degrees in here.”

Temperatures dipped into the high 40s Monday morning, the lowest since the beginning of fall, said Steve Nelson, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Although fall officially began Sept. 22, the low temperature was a sign that the cool weather that usually accompanies the season has finally arrived.

It caught Kimberly Westberry of Forest Park and her 10-year-old daughter Lacrecia a little off guard.

“It's the fall but I wasn't expecting it to be that cold,” said Westberry. “She (Lacrecia) had to wear a jacket.”

Still, Westberry says she likes the cool weather better than the heat of summer.

A large section of the central and western U.S. is expected to have a warmer winter, according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But Nelson said Georgia should have a relatively normal year for temperature.

He also said the area could experience snow or ice storms like last year even with the normal temperatures.

“It just takes one good storm to produce an ice storm,” Nelson said.

With winter on the way, natural gas bills are expected to go up dramatically in the wake of the two hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast this season.

In the past 30 days, wholesale natural gas prices have gone up 33 percent, according to the Southern Company.

The natural gas marketer has posted the following measures on its Web site to help its customers cope with or reduce their natural gas bills:

é Check gas appliances and space-heating equipment for efficient operation

é Obtain a home energy audit to identify ways to conserve energy

é Reduce thermostat settings, especially when away from home

é Payment arrangements can be made if customers are unable to pay higher winter bills. Call 1-866-762-6427 to set up a payment plan

Staff Writer Justin Boron contributed to this article.