By Alton Mitchell
The Winter solstice occurred less than three weeks ago, but the cold side of mother nature has taken aim at LaFayette and Chambers County this winter, with the latest wintery blast impacting the region on this past Monday and resulting in the normal operations of schools across the region.
An approaching cold front on Monday prompted a winter weather advisory to be put in place to areas of Alabama and Georgia. LaFayette and Chambers County were not included in the advisory area which was issued by National Weather Service offices in Birmingham and Peachtree City. However, the potential of a wintery mix in the area and icy roadways prompted local school officials to take action on Monday to ensure the safety of area school children.
The Chambers County School District cited the possibility of icy road conditions impacting the Chambers County roadways as a cause to delay the start of school on Monday. The district announced a delay of 2 hours to start the school day. The CCSD asked faculty to report to area schools two hours after normal start time. Parents were also notified that buses would run exactly 2 hours after the normal start times.
Lanett City Schools took a similar measure and delayed the start of the school day. Classes across the city of Lanett were pushed back to a start time of 9:50 and buses did not run until 9:00 a.m. across the city. Staff members were asked to delay their reporting to work until 9:00 a.m. As a result of the delayed start of the school day no breakfast was served to students on Monday.
On the opposite side of the Chattahoochee River more extreme precautions were taken as Troup County Schools cancelled classes for the day on Monday in anticipation of the freezing rain and ice that was set to impact the area. No classes were held at public schools in Troup County on Monday. Several schools across the metro Atlanta area also shut down ahead of the winter storm extending the Christmas break for some students.
Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia also acted ahead of the possibility of the approaching winter weather as he ordered all non-essential state offices closed in northern sections of the state. A line of state offices stretching from Columbus to Augusta were closed Monday due to the potential of icy weather.
The winter season officially began on December 21, 2017 in LaFayette. However, the impacts of this winter were present well before the official start as LaFayette saw its first snowfall of the season in early December. Since that snowfall LaFayette has seen a strong fluctuation in temperatures including some of the coldest air in years over the past week as lows have dipped into the teens overnight in the past week in LaFayette. Wind chill values in the single digits have been seen in Alabama for the first time this season.
The first day of Spring is March 20th, 2018, but a teaser is on tap for this week as temperatures return to warmer realms through the work week. LaFayette is expected to see high temps this week ranging from the 50’s to upper 60’s this week before another cool snap comes in over the weekend dropping area temperatures once again.