Special to SEGAZINE
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) elevated the State Operations Center (SOC) to full activation Tuesday following Governor Nathan Deal’s state of emergency declaration for 45 counties in response to the winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).
The Governor issued the executive order in 45 counties: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Cobb, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Elbert, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Jackson, Lincoln, Lumpkin, Madison, Murray, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, Walton, White, Whitfield, and Wilkes.
NWS issued a winter storm warning in effect through 7 p.m. Tuesday for the northern third of Georgia. A winter storm watch also remains in effect for the same general area through Thursday. The forecasts include a wintry mix of rain, snow, sleet, and ice that could result in hazardous driving conditions as early as Tuesday morning.
A winter storm watch is issued when there is at least a 50 percent chance for winter storm conditions occurring in the next 12 to 48 hours. A winter storm warning is issued when there is at least an 80 percent chance for winter storm conditions occurring within the next 36 hours.
State agencies are pre-staging equipment and personnel in preparation for this upcoming winter weather. The following agencies and organizations are supporting the (SOC): GEMA, American Red Cross, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Human Services, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Department of Public Safety, Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia National Guard.
GEMA encourages Georgians to plan, prepare, and stay informed for updates on current and developing weather conditions. For preparedness information, go to www.gema.ga.gov.