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Cold, slushy weather pushes north

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Metro Atlanta experienced its fourth measurable snow event of the year on Tuesday, according to weather officials.

Though parts of northern Atlanta were blanketed by the cold, wet precipitation, much of the Southern Crescent was spared, with only traces of snow and sleet, according to Brian Lynn, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Lynn said snow flurries became more widespread throughout Tuesday morning, as temperatures fell from a day-time average high of 39 degrees around metro Atlanta. By 2 p.m., day-time average temperatures had dipped to 36 degrees, and continued their fall into the evening.

The cool down, he said, was the result of a low-pressure system that originated in the Gulf of Mexico and moved through south Georgia. The system is expected to leave the state today, moving into the Carolinas.

The system leaves behind normal precipitation levels for north Georgia. From Jan. 1, through March 1, however, metro Atlanta had been 0.34 inches below normal on precipitation levels, at 9.89 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Lynn added that metro Atlanta should see a warming trend by the end of the week, heading into a spring-like weekend with partly cloudy skies.

"Weekend weather is expected to be dry for the NASCAR [Sprint Cup Series] event," Lynn said. "Highs on Saturday are expected to be in the lower 60s, and in the mid-60s on Sunday."

Much like this winter's weather, spring weather may yield mixed results.

The most likely scenario, according to State Climatologist David Emory Stooksbury, is for the weather to be cooler and wetter than normal early on, becoming hotter and drier than normal, heading into summer.

"March is historically the wettest month in Georgia," Stooksbury said. "By late spring, there is a very good likelihood that rainfall will be below normal state-wide. [Also,] because of the expected below-normal temperatures, high heating demand for buildings will likely continue through this month and into April."

Severe weather is also likely during spring, he added. "While tornadoes can occur in any month in Georgia, they are most common in spring," Stooksbury said. "Since tornadoes in Georgia often occur at night," he said, "a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, with a warning alarm, is essential for home and workplace safety."