Georgia Department of Transportation officials are urging drivers in north Georgia to think safety as Hurricane Sandy brings near freezing temperatures and strong, gusty winds to Paulding County and other areas.
A wind advisory for Paulding and other counties, effective through 8 p.m. Tuesday, warns of 20 to 25 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph.
"We are continuously monitoring current weather conditions and forecasts as extremely high winds and possible snow flurries are predicted for the mountainous counties of northwest Georgia," said DeWayne Comer, district engineer at GDOT's Cartersville office, in a release Monday. "Fallen trees and snow flurries are possible through [Tuesday] morning. Before you head out on the roads tomorrow please check the weather and road conditions, especially if you live or travel to mountainous areas.
"Weather reports call for slight accumulations of snow in the higher elevations of the mountains. Wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour are also possible. So we encourage all motorists to stay off the roadways until if possible. If you must be on the roads, please exercise extreme caution particularly as you approach bridges and at higher elevations," Comer added.
"If you approach a traffic signal that is dark with no color lit at all, then treat the intersection as a four-way stop by waiting your turn to move. If the signal flashes yellow, then cautiously proceed through the intersection. If the signal flashes red, then stop and wait for a safe time to proceed knowing the other roadway has the right of way," Comer said.
Possible trouble locations include:
- Bridges as black ice forms there first and can reform quickly;
- Highest elevations or gaps in Catoosa, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Walker and Whitfield counties;
- Fallen trees across the roadway;
- Traffic signals not operating because of power outages; and
- High-profile vehicles will be difficult to control in high winds.
GDOT is set to monitor conditions overnight and respond as needed, if needed overnight based on information from local law enforcement agencies and the National Weather Service.
Georgia DOT urges travelers to exercise caution and call 511 for updated information on roadway conditions before getting on the road during a winter weather event. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, including winter weather closures, reports of icing or other hazardous conditions on interstates and state routes. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org.