South to finally warm, but Georgia could see freezing rain

Published 5:37 pm Friday, January 5, 2018

By JEFF MARTIN | The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Subfreezing temperatures will finally come to an end this weekend across much of the Deep South, but a shot of freezing rain is possible in Georgia the night before the national championship college football game.

There’s a chance of a wintry mix of precipitation across north Georgia late Sunday night and Monday morning, National Weather Service forecasts indicate. Georgia faces Alabama on Monday night in Atlanta in the title game.

Email newsletter signup

Snow was still covering lawns and rooftops — and ice coated some roads — on Friday in Savannah, Georgia, where schools were canceled for a third day.

However, temperatures will be on the rise across the region.

In Louisiana, forecasters say high temperatures will range from 58 to 65 degrees (14 to 18 Celsius) in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas by Sunday.

By Monday, highs should approach 60 degrees (16 Celsius) in the Jackson, Mississippi, area; and 50 degrees (10 Celsius) in Birmingham, Alabama.

Some cold nights remained ahead as temperatures gradually warm.

In Huntsville, Alabama, for instance, the low temperature was expected to be 14 degrees (-10 Celsius) on Friday night; and 20 degrees (-7 Celsius ) Saturday night.

Hypothermia is among the risks during the extended cold snap, said Dr. Robert Platt, an emergency physician at Huntsville Hospital, which has Alabama’s largest emergency and trauma program.

Key steps to guard against cold-weather injuries include dressing warm, staying in warm environments and keeping the head covered and warm, since people can lose a lot of body heat from their head, Platt said.

“Folks in the Deep South are unprepared for this type of prolonged cold weather,” said Dr. Michael Kurz, associate professor of emergency medicine at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. “It is a unique challenge when it’s this cold for this long of a period, this deeply cold.”

This week Kurz saw one man who had been out in the elements and had a core body temperature of 75 degrees (24 Celsius). Normally, a person’s core body temperature is about 98.6 degrees (37 Celsius).

During that same shift, Kurz saw another patient who had frostbite. Frostbite cases are so unusual in Alabama that many of the hospital residents Kurz works with have never seen one, he said.

Both of those patients are expected to survive.