The steady rain moving through Columbus and the rest of the Chattahoochee Valley Thursday is about to become considerably trickier with a wintry twist.
The National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga., as of Thursday evening, is forecasting rain on Friday in Columbus, turning to a combined “rain and snow” Friday night into Saturday morning, primarily before 4 a.m. as the low bottoms out at the freezing mark of 32 degrees. Little to no accumulation is anticipated even in areas just outside the city, however.
The farther one travels north of Columbus, however, chances rise that wintry precipitation will be found, be it sleet or snowflakes. The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., projects possible small accumulations along a swath north of Interstate 85 north and west of Auburn, Ala., and from LaGrange, Ga., northeast through the Atlanta metro area and into north Georgia.
“Some accumulating snow is possible in grassy and elevated surfaces within the advised area,” a winter weather advisory issued Thursday afternoon said. “Generally, one-fourth to one-half inch of snowfall possible. Locally, higher totals of up to 1 inch are possible in the higher elevations in east Alabama,” particularly an area south and east of Anniston, Ala., and along portions of Interstate 20 between Birmingham and Atlanta.
Once the precipitation clears the Columbus area, temperatures are forecast to fall to 28 degrees Saturday and Sunday nights — likely a few degrees lower in outlying areas. The weekend is forecast to be sunny and crisp in Columbus, with a high of 46 degrees on Saturday and 56 on Sunday.
The possible wintry mix north of Columbus has LaGrange officials preparing for both the cold and frozen precipitation from Friday morning through early Saturday. David Brown, the LaGrange Public Services director said Thursday the city already has employees on call and ready to respond should roadways and bridges become slick and unsafe.
The LaGrange-Troup County Homeless Coalition also opened a “warming center” at 150 East Lukken Industrial Drive Thursday night, with the possibility of it staying open through Tuesday. Volunteers are needed, the city said, with those wishing to do so urged to call Mike Wilson at 706-333-7973.