published Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Atlanta freeway signs warn of storm watch but none issued

ATLANTA — Large message boards over metro Atlanta interstates early today warned of a winter storm watch, but National Weather Service forecasters said no such watch had been issued.

The forecasters were trying to get state officials to correct the signs, which also warned that black ice is possible in the metro area.

The messages appeared to be a mistake and should be taken down, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Lynn said early today. The weather service contacted state officials to alert them to the messages and asked that they be changed, he said.

"That signage is going to be taken down or should be taken down as we speak," Lynn said shortly before 6 a.m. "We don't know why that happened."

Calls to the Georgia Department of Transportation by The Associated Press were not immediately returned early today.

The weather service is forecasting light rain expected over parts of north and central Georgia this afternoon, which could become a wintry mix of snow before ending this evening. The greatest concern will be thin, patchy black ice as temperatures fall, they said.

State and local leaders have been criticized for the government's response to snow last week that led to gridlocked roads in metro Atlanta.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday announced the formation of a task force of state and local officials, meteorologists and business leaders charged with making recommendations to improve the state's response when severe weather strikes.

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