The Atlanta area and areas north of the city are facing a few different weather threats this afternoon and through the night. The National Weather Service in Peachtree Service has issued both a winter weather advisory and a flood watch for metro Atlanta and about 20 counties across the state.
The winter weather advisory warns of the potential for light snow and black ice from the early afternoon Thursday to early evening along the I-20 and I-85 corridor and north. Accumulation is expected to be light (less than 1 inch), but the advisory cautions that the snowfall and overnight ice could impact drivers. The advisory affects Atlanta and north. Clayton and Henry counties are not included, for example.
According to the most recent advisory, "Rain will mix with and begin changing to snow in northwest Georgia by early afternoon, spreading across the rest of north Georgia through the early evening hours."
A National Weather Service winter weather advisory for snow means that "periods of snow may cause travel difficulties. Use caution while driving."
The flood watch was issued at 5 a.m. and continues through 7 p.m. this evening. It affects essentially the same area. According to the Weather Service, a flood watch means there is potential for flooding based on current conditions and forecasts.
It's been since 2011 that snow of any accumulation has hit the Atlanta area, according to the Weather Service, based in Peachtree City. Last winter was extremely mild, and the whole 2012 year saw a record low in days that registered less than 32 degrees.
While it's been a couple years since a snowstorm, the Atlanta area isn't far removed from major storms in both the snow and flood categories. The January 2011 ice storm crippled the city for nearly a week and called into question the mayor's light fleet of snow plows. A 2009 "100 years" flood was historic by even U.S. Geological Survey records.
Mike Benzie has been a reporter and editor for several major news organizations in the Southeast, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Greenville News, and the Asheville Citizen-Times.