Weather has delays and the warming center open for Friday morning

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GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – A new statement from the National Weather Service has authorities in Gilmer County returning to caution and delaying schedules tomorrow in addition to early closures today.

Statements from the Gilmer County Courthouse and Gilmer County Schools have reported early closures for today. Both ended the day two hours early, roughly 3 p.m. for the county and 1 p.m. for schools. However, in addition to early closures both have issued statements for tomorrow, Friday, January 7, 2022. This is the second time this week that winter weather has caused a delay for the county.

The statement from the courthouse said, “The Gilmer County Courthouse will be closing at 3:00PM today and will delay opening tomorrow until 10:00AM due to incoming winter weather events that we anticipate will make driving difficult and perhaps dangerous.”

The statement from Gilmer Schools said, “Tonight’s weather forecast is predicting some severe Winter weather in the Northern end of Georgia, including parts of Gilmer. Therefore, the Gilmer County Schools will operate on a 2-hour delay on Friday January 7th, 2022.”

The National Weather service stated, “A strong cold front will bring cold and windy conditions to much of north Georgia tonight into Friday morning. Northwest winds of 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph this evening will gradually decrease overnight. However, with the very cold, sub-freezing temperatures, wind chill values will fall into the teens across north Georgia with readings in the single digits in the mountains.”

Closures and delays are not the only response coming through as Gilmer Public Safety is also responding to the extremely low temperatures by opening the Civic Center Warming Center. They said, “The Warming Shelter at the Civic Center – 1561 S. Main St. – will be open today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) from 5:00 PM to 7:00 AM for all those in need of protection from freezing temperatures. Visitors are asked to bring a bedroll if available. Pets are welcome.”

With slight rain today in areas of the county, some estimation totals have reached between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Lows are estimated between 17 and 20 degrees just before dawn. Some forecasts have even set the wind chill down to single digits in the area.

Gilmer is along the southernmost reach of the Winter Weather Advisories reach across the entire northern tip of Georgia coming from the front of “arctic air.”

Gilmer Schools and Courthouse delay work day amid snowy forecast

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EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer Schools and the Gilmer courthouse are both delaying this morning’s start in favor of caution as reports of snow in the forecast have come over recent days.

The National Weather Service has both a winter storm warning in effect until 9 a.m. for Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union and Towns Counties and a Wind Advisory between 15 and 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph for most of North Georgia until noon.

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley said, “The weather forecast for our area indicates that winter weather will likely occur overnight in the Northern part of the county which could potentially create hazardous road conditions in the morning. As a precaution, our Professional Learning Day will be delayed two hours. Staff should report at 10:00 a.m.”

Dr. Ridley said nothing about further delays or any other effects. The district calendar is still set for students return on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

The courthouse has also issued the same delay for employees, opting for the later start and allowing a few hours of sun.

Concerns raised for the day were not of snow or buildup, but instead the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office specifically noted black ice as a major concern.

According to a special weather statement shared by the Sheriff’s Office, “As the rain exits the region this evening cold air will filter into the are quickly behind the rainfall… many area roads and bridges will not have an opportunity to dry off and subsequently have an opportunity to freeze overnight and into the early AM resulting in areas of black ice.”

With no expectation of continuing weather throughout the day, most warning and advisories are ending before or at noon. Citizens should still exercise caution after the delay when traveling to work and be aware of the roads as they continue improving.

Temperatures are still ranging in the 20’s and 30’s so those in the higher elevations of the county could see worse conditions lingering throughout the day.

Gilmer issues school delay for two hours in face of severe storms

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – With warning continuing to come in from the National Weather Service and public safety officials, Gilmer Schools has issued a statement to plan on a two-hour delay for school on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

According to the statement released, “The National Weather Service has warned that our county is expected to experience severe weather overnight and into the early morning hours just before and during our normal morning bus routes. The strongest storm bands show potential to generate damaging winds, hail, and tornados. In the interest of safety, please plan for a two-hour delayed start of school Thursday morning March 18, 2021.”

The school system clarified that bus routes and parent drop-off are also affected, so parents should not drop students off at normal times to wait for class to begin. However, they are planning to dismiss at the normal time in the afternoon.

While the National Weather Service has not issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area at this time, they did issue a statement just before noon saying, “Scattered to numerous strong to severe storms are expected late today through tonight with an approaching strong disturbance and frontal system. While there is some potential for severe storms as early as this afternoon, the primary risk will likely be with an area of storms pushing eastward late tonight into Thursday morning. The main threats will be tornadoes (some of which could be significant or longer tracked), damaging winds over 60 mph, large hail, and flash flooding.”

The decision to delay class is in place for now, but the school system did state that this response could increase if need be, saying, “We will plan to confer with Emergency Management officials in the early morning hours on Thursday and if conditions require a cancellation, this information will be updated.”

Pool project hits another delay with COVID

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – Reports during a special called meeting of the Gilmer Board of Commissioners (BOC) indicate that the county’s pool project hit another delay this month.

Loy Jarret reported to the board that the engineering firm the county is using has been hit by the COVID virus. Due to this, at least a two week delay is coming to the pool construction project.

According to Jarrett, a large portion of the project is finished but the firm is now awaiting recovery and quarantine periods to end and for the firm to reconvene in order to finish the project. This means Gilmer will also see a delay in the promised 3 weeks originally promised. This could come closer to 6 weeks now.

The board is hoping to have the engineering finalized in February before returning to scheduling on the project which has been plagued with delays and issues including many from the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and resurgence.

The pool project is attempting to continue under conditions after a major delay saw the Commissioners halt the project completely after demolition of the old pool last year. The commissioners, at that time, wanted to wait and see what the virus outbreak, quarantines, and self isolations  would do to the county’s economy.

In the same area of the county, at River Park, the commissioners also approved an easement for Georgia Power to begin excavation and subsequent repairs to areas of the park to install underground utilities. According to County Attorney David Clark, the county will be making some minor changes to the agreement before returning it to Georgia Power for final approval.

With that, citizens could be seeing more immediate construction work in the area of River Park stretching through different areas. This construction work is not a part of the pool project, but rather Georgia Power performing this installation.

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