ATLANTA (Gray News) – Just days ahead of the Super Bowl, Atlanta is bracing for a cold snap that’s set to close schools and government offices and could cause a traffic nightmare.
The Georgia capital is hosting the NFL championship game on Sunday, with fans expected to pour into the city throughout the week.
The National Weather Service predicted up to two inches of snow could fall in northwestern parts of the Atlanta metro area on Tuesday.
There are also concerns about black ice forming on roads.
Atlanta’s history of dealing with winter storms is checkered at best. The city basically ground to a halt when two inches of snow fell on it in January 2014, an event that popularly came to be known as “Snowpocalypse” amidst scenes of drivers abandoning their cars on frozen roadways and stranded students sleeping overnight at their schools.
The city’s response to the storm was mocked on “Saturday Night Live.”
With this year’s Super Bowl looming, city and state officials looked to get ahead of the situation on Monday.
“Every single meeting that we’ve had related to the Super Bowl we have discussed what we would do, what our preparations would be in the case of snow and ice,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a press conference on Monday. “Because we know that we have experienced a Super Bowl where it didn’t turn out so well because of our lack of preparation.”
Gov. Brian Kemp announced the closure of state offices in 35 counties, and said in a statement “we want everyone to be safe and exercise vigilance if this weather causes dangerous conditions or outages.”
“Those in affected areas are encouraged to remain off the roads on Tuesday and Wednesday, if conditions remain icy or dangerous,” Kemp said.
The governor said that the state operations center for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency had been activated.
The Atlanta Super Bowl Host committee has already closed its Super Bowl LIVE fan experience village for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The good news for football fans is that temperatures are supposed to warm back up by the weekend.