This car was navigating a snowy road early Tuesday in Fort Payne, Ala. The wicked winter weather there is spreading across the Deep South. Hal Yeager/AP
This is not our language. It comes from the forecasters at the National Weather Service, who we have to hope do not say things such as this unless they really mean it:
“Mind-boggling if not historical” ice accumulations are expected Wednesday and Thursday across a wide swath of the Deep South that includes Atlanta, other parts of Georgia, Columbia, S.C., and up to Raleigh/Durham, N.C. The forecasters are warning of a half-inch to an inch of ice.
What’s more, from parts of North Carolina up to just south of Washington, D.C., “8 to 10 inches of snow” are expected.
The Weather Service goes on to warn that (the CAPS are from the Weather Service, not us):
“SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATION WILL PRODUCE DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE OR WALK. ICE ACCUMULATION WILL DAMAGE TREES AND POWER LINES. IF YOU ENCOUNTER DOWNED POWER LINES … DO NOT TOUCH THE LINES BECAUSE YOU COULD BE ELECTROCUTED. REPORT DOWNED POWER LINES TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR THE POWER COMPANY. PREPARE TO REMAIN IN A SAFE SHELTER WITHOUT ELECTRICITY FOR MANY HOURS. OBTAIN VITAL SUPPLIES SUCH AS POTABLE WATER…NON-PERISHABLE FOOD…MEDICINE…BATTERIES…FLASHLIGHTS AND A BATTERY POWERED RADIO.”
Consider yourself warned.
We want to repeat that those warnings are from the National Weather Service, not The Weather Channel — which some Two-Way commenters in the past have suggested may overhype some storms.
For its part, The Weather Channel is writing that “if you live in the South, now is the time to prepare for another disruptive, potentially crippling winter storm.”
So far, at least, Atlanta seems to have avoided a repeat of last month’s disaster — when snow and ice trapped thousands of commuters on the highways. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says “schools and government offices across most of metro Atlanta have opted to close Tuesday and Wednesday, which will help keep many drivers at home. That should allow workers to salt and sand roads they couldn’t get to when traffic suddenly came to a standstill during the last storm.”
Our colleagues at WABE in Atlanta are following the news as well. Alabama is also in the ice storm’s cross hairs.