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Winter invades region
Bulloch schools to open Tuesday and Wednesday; bus delays expected
APTOPIX Deep Freeze T Werm
Michael Best, right, and others who identified themselves as homeless, use donated wood and a fire barrel to keep warm Monday in Knoxville, Tenn. Monday's expected high temperature in Knoxville of around 24 degrees came hours before dawn, and is expected to fall into the single digits for most of East Tennessee. - photo by Associated Press

Need a place to stay?

Anyone in need of emergency shelter may call the Bulloch County Public Safety Office at (912) 489-1661.


Bundle up, Bulloch County.

The air temperature is forecast to drop into the mid-teens tonight and early Tuesday. The wind chill, with breezes howling in from the northwest at 15-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph, will make it feel close to zero degrees.

In the wake of the coldest temperatures to hit these parts in recent memory, the Bulloch County school system announced that schools will open and be on schedule Tuesday and Wednesday.

"As a result the information we have received from Bulloch County EMA, we do not foresee the need to cancel school," Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson said in a statement Monday. "We are taking precautions and realize that things will be moving more slowly than usual."

The National Weather Service in Charleston, S.C., issued a wind chill advisory for the region that took effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday and is scheduled to last through 10 a.m. The advisory says, "Hypothermia could develop quickly if you venture outside without warm clothes."

"If you must venture outdoors, wear warm clothes including a heavy coat, hat, glove, a scarf and shoes or boots," the advisory says. "If at all possible, remain indoors in a heated shelter until conditions improve. Bring pets indoors."

In its announcement, the school system says it will have bus mechanics and drivers report to work early Tuesday and Wednesday to ensure "that buses are cranked and warm before they begin morning routes."

"Also, because parents will be keeping their children inside their homes and cars instead of having them stand at the bus stop, (bus) drivers will be patient and wait on students to board," the district says. "This will result in some buses' delays, so schools are being asked to expect this and work with the students. Schools will keep their activities inside over the next few days."

The forecast, while cold, is dry, meaning no significant ice accumulation is expected, but strong winds could blow down trees or power lines.

"County road crews are prepared for that, and will alert the school system of any affected areas," the district's news release says.

The school system added that it will provide updates in case any changes to this plan are needed on its website, and the Bulloch County Schools Facebook page as well as through area news media outlets.

Under sunny skies but with that persistent northwest wind at 10-15 mph, the temperature Tuesday is forecast to top out in the lower 30s. Tuesday night into Wednesday, the low will again reach mid-teens, with north winds lightening to around 5 mph.

Relief is forecast Wednesday, with the National Weather Service predicting highs in the mid-40s and lows in the lower 30s.

The first freezing temperatures hit the state early Monday, The Associated Press reported.

Little more than a dusting of snow and isolated patches of ice on roads were reported Monday morning from north Georgia to metro Atlanta. The winter weather was forecast to dry out across the state as things got colder. The National Weather Service predicted temperatures could reach 7 degrees or colder by Tuesday morning in cities including Athens, Rome, Cartersville and possibly Atlanta.

"This is severely cold for these parts," said Brian Lynn, a Weather Service meteorologist in Peachtree City. "Single digits are a rare event."

Even parts of southern Georgia often immune to winter weather were expecting bone-chilling temperatures. Savannah was forecast to hit a low of 18 degrees Tuesday morning, with Albany reaching 19 degrees. Statesboro's low was forecast to be 16 degrees.

The Weather Service had much of north Georgia under wind-chill warning, meaning wind gusts could drop conditions to a dangerous 15 degrees below zero or colder. Lynn said those conditions would mostly be felt only in the mountains. A wind chill advisory, meaning wind could bring chills up to 10 degrees below zero, was in effect as far south as Americus and the Savannah area.

Even without the threat of ice or snow, school systems canceled classes in central Georgia. Bibb County closed its schools Monday because of temperatures expect to dip below 30 degrees after noon in the Macon area and held out the possibility of closing Tuesday as well.

Atlanta city schools and school districts in metro-area counties such as Cobb, Coweta, Douglas, Forsyth and Henry counties canceled classes Tuesday to avoid exposing children to freezing temperatures and sub-zero wind chills.

Department of Transportation crews treated isolated icy patches Monday on state routes in northwest Georgia. Few problems were reported on metro Atlanta roads during the morning rush hour.

"We had crews come in last night at 10 o'clock, and they've been working the overnight hours, pre-treating the bridges and making sure all the equipment is ready to go just in case we need it," DOT spokesman Mark McKinnon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.


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