Possible rain could lead to icy roads Sunday night into Monday morning in North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee, but subfreezing temperatures soon are expected to come to an end, at least through next week.
"On the surface, it looks like it will be flirting with ice [Monday morning]," National Weather Service meteorologist Jessica Winton, based in Morristown, Tenn., said. "It could be enough to get pretty slick. Everyone should be cautious."
The brunt of the rainfall Sunday night is expected in north and central Georgia, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Lara Pagano, based in Peachtree, Ga. The low temperature is expected to be 30 degrees.
With temperatures so close to freezing, meteorologists are keeping an eye on precipitation to determine if the region will see a wintery mix or just rainfall.
"That's what we're looking into now," Pagano said. "Temperatures will be just around freezing."
Five day forecast
Saturday - High 33, Low 18
Sunday - High 40, Low 30
Monday - High 44, Low 34
Tuesday - High 52, Low 33
Wednesday - High 54, Low 38
Hypothermia is among the risks during the extended cold snap, said Dr. Robert Platt, an emergency physician at Huntsville Hospital, which has Alabama's largest emergency and trauma program.
Key steps to guard against cold-weather injuries include dressing warm, staying in warm environments and keeping the head covered and warm, since people can lose a lot of body heat from their heads, Platt said.
"Folks in the Deep South are unprepared for this type of prolonged cold weather," said Dr. Michael Kurz, associate professor of emergency medicine at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. "It is a unique challenge when it's this cold for this long of a period, this deeply cold."
However, temperatures are expected to continue to climb Monday and throughout the week, creeping back to normal levels for this time of year. By mid-week, highs will be in the mid-50s in the Chattanooga area.
However, that doesn't mean the region is in the clear when it comes to sub-freezing temperatures.
"We can't say that. I wish we could," Pagano said. "We're just in the beginning of January, so we have a few months to go. A lot of people are hoping for that."