A little winter weather
Mixture of rain, sleet expected

LAWRENCEVILLE - Weather forecasters said freezing rain could fall this morning, but the day isn't expected to be too icy.

A mixture of rain, sleet and snow was expected to push into Gwinnett County after 4 p.m. Wednesday, and a winter weather advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. today, said Stephen Konarik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

The overnight low temperature was expected to be 32 degrees, which could cause some ice to form on bridges and overpasses, but any snow or sleet that fell overnight was not expected to accumulate, he said.

"We're not really expecting too much, except people might see some snowflakes and sleet pellets," Konarik said. "It will be a very close call. If it drops a couple degrees colder than what is forecasted, it could cause some major problems."

The Georgia Department of Transportation began monitoring conditions at 10 p.m. Wednesday on roads throughout the northeast part of Georgia, said Teri Pope, the department's spokeswoman.

Two roads in north Georgia - Ga. Highway 180 Spur in Towns County and Ga. Highway 348/Richard Russell Parkway in White and Union counties - were closed Wednesday.

"These are some of the highest elevations in the state and can get treacherous quickly," Pope said. "We don't want to take the chance of anyone getting stuck up there so we close both roads before the winter weather starts, and they will remain closed until after the winter weather is over."

The DOT's trucks, which are equipped with snow plows in the front and hoppers in the back, were ready to spread a mixture of salt and stone on other roads, if needed, Pope said.

Motorists should not pass the trucks, Pope said. The mixture could damage vehicles, and the road ahead is not safe for travel.

Pope also advised those that will be out on the roads to slow down as they cross bridges. She also suggested that people put their vehicles in low gear to provide extra traction.

"There are over 750 bridges in northeast Georgia," she said. "They get the most dangerous. Ice forms there first and reforms very quickly."

School district officials will also be out this morning monitoring conditions.

Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said if schools are closed, the decision will be made by 6 a.m. Announcements will be made on local television and radio stations, and a notice will be posed on the district's Web site.

Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hamby said he and other district officials will be out driving the roads to see how icy it is.

In Barrow County, school officials will monitor conditions beginning at 3:30 a.m. today, said Lisa Leighton, the district's spokeswoman. Any decision to close Barrow County Schools will be made by 6:30 a.m.