Likely winter storm may disrupt Super Bowl final in Atlanta

Published on : Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Five years after the “snow jam” when cars, trucks and school buses got stranded on Atlanta freeways, another winter storm is on the verge of threatening the city — just as thousands of fans begin pouring in for Super Bowl 53.


A winter storm watch goes into effect at 4 a.m. Tuesday for Atlanta, a city infamous for grinding to a halt even in relatively light snowfalls.


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday said state offices in more than 30 counties in the northern part of the state would be closed Tuesday, including those in the Atlanta area.


And Delta Air Lines canceled about 170 flights from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in anticipation of snow and icy conditions Tuesday, the company said in a statement on its website.


The National Weather Service projects that up to an inch (2.5 centimetres) of snow is possible Tuesday in Atlanta, with up to two inches (five centimetres) in far northern suburbs.


New England Patriots fan Pamela Wales of Quincy, Massachusetts said it’s the potential for ice that concerns her most. During her visit to Atlanta this week, local television footage reminded her that Atlanta and ice don’t mix well.


The potential for black ice is also “the overriding concern” among emergency officials, said Homer Bryson, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.


“Temperatures are going to plummet,” the governor said at a Monday news conference.
Road crews on Monday began treating major interstates, state routes and overpasses in north Georgia with brine — a liquid salt mixture — in anticipation of the storm.


The routes that both the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams must use to travel to and from practice venues will also be pre-treated, the Georgia Department of Transportation said in a statement.


Sunday’s Super Bowl will be played in downtown Atlanta in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has a roof. The roof will be open if weather permits, officials have said. There’s a 40 per cent chance of showers Sunday, but highs will be near 58 degrees (14 Celsius). That’s slightly warmer than average for Feb. 3 in Atlanta, climate records show.


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