Freezing Rain Threat Prompts Closings In Metro Atlanta

A pedestrian walks past a frozen fountain downtown in Atlanta.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Updated at 8:12 a.m. Monday

Authorities say they’re beginning to hear reports of slick spots on roads in northern Alabama and in northwest Georgia where light freezing rain fell before dawn Monday.

Police in the North Georgia city of Varnell reported a crash involving 30 to 40 cars on Interstate 75, about 20 miles southeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Forecasters issued a new winter weather advisory for metro Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, warning that roadways could be icy with a chance of light freezing rain in the city and its surrounding suburbs from 5 a.m. until noon on Monday.

In Georgia on Sunday, road crews had already begun pre-treating interstates and highways with brine, a salt and water mixture, the Department of Transportation said in a statement.

Atlanta, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Fulton, Decatur, Marietta, Paulding, and Douglas schools all announced closures for Monday.

City of Atlanta government offices and the city’s Municipal Court will also be closed, Atlanta announced Sunday evening. Gov. Nathan Deal announced that due to the weather, all non-essential state offices will be closed Monday across northern Georgia.

The weather challenges come just as big crowds are expected to converge on downtown Atlanta for college football’s national championship.

Atlanta’s mayor had urged businesses to let their employees telecommute on Monday.

Kickoff won’t be until after 8 p.m. as the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama face each other in the College Football Playoff National Championship Monday night. But traffic was already expected to be difficult, and with President Donald Trump’s motorcade to Mercedes-Benz Stadium complicating matters, authorities have urged fans to show up well in advance for the day’s events, which include concerts in Centennial Olympic Park.