Arctic Plunge Grips North Georgia

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Old Man Winter is hitting north Georgia hard.

Freezing cold has gripped the state as an arctic blast plunges through the south. Temperatures in Atlanta dropped to around 20 degrees during the overnight hours Tuesday, and now a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Wednesday as precipitation moves in.

FOX 5 spoke to people braving the cold while waiting for a bus to arrive Tuesday morning. At the corner of 10th Street and Monroe Drive, a work crew spent the night laying pipe out in the frigid  temperatures. They tried to dress in layers and keep moving to stay warm. A fountain near the Atlanta Amtrak station froze Tuesday morning.

Winter Weather Preparedness

As cold as it is in the metro Atlanta area, it's even colder in the mountains. Wind chills fell below zero in the early morning hours Tuesday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it will repeat a successful process used last year.

"I think the brine mixture worked very, very well last year.  We were able to keep our roads safe and keep snow and ice off of them, as best we could," GDOT spokesperson Annalysce  Baker said.

Baker said workers will pre-treat the interstates and roadways with brine tankers, starting just after 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The mountains are also under a Winter Storm Warning for Wednesday. Precipitation is expected to move in Wednesday morning, and continue to fall for much of the day. Up to two inches of snow and sleet are possible in that area, in addition to a the possibility of ice.

Baker said GDOT crews will have the roads ready.

The FOX 5 Storm Chaser spotted some of those trucks out late Tuesday night prepping for the forecasted snow and ice.

GDOT crews were out late Tuesday, treating the roads for the forecasted snow and ice. Crews started laying the brine mixture on the Cherokee-Bartow line on Interstate 75 at about 9:30 p.m. and made their way north to the Tennessee state line. Crews also treated Georgia Highway 515 from Woodstock to Blairsville and Interstate 575 through Ellijay.

A spokesperson for GDOT said crews will work 12-hour shifts with about 255 employees on call, so close to 130 employees per shift.

Crews are also prepared for any accumulation on the interstate and said they will keep the right two lanes clear if snow or ice builds up by bringing in snow plows to clear the snow and/or ice.

Workers and Commuters Battle Cold

So, what about those who have no choice but to be out in the cold?

For workers whose jobs keep them outside, it is more than uncomfortable. In construction, below freezing temperatures can be brutal, especially with the wind chill.

Meanwhile, PARKatlanta enforcement officers can only do their jobs by going street to street.

Even if you do not have an outside occupation, the frosty conditions can bite. For example, a handful of commuters were at a MARTA stop on busy Peachtree Street at rush hour Tuesday evening. That stop has no shelter.

 "Our bus is always late because of all the traffic," one rider complained.