In a rare dire warning, forecasters say a winter storm making its way to the region could be a "catastrophic event" for residents across metro Atlanta and much of Georgia.
National Weather Service forecasters issued the warning Tuesday morning. They say the storm could reach "historical proportions.
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- Current conditions in Atlanta
Many residents already are heeding officials' advice to stay home. Schools are canceled, and Atlanta streets were largely empty during the usually busy morning commute.
Forecasters say widespread outages are possible as ice builds up on trees and power lines. The ice threat is expected to begin in Georgia overnight. As much as 9 inches of snow could fall in parts of north Georgia by Wednesday night.
Forecaster Brian Hoeth says power outages could last for days, and winds with gusts up to 25 mph will exacerbate problems.
Aaron Strickland of Georgia Power says he's seen forecasts for this much ice in Atlanta but in 35 years with the utility hasn't seen it happen. Georgia Power is bringing in out-of-state crews to help.
Other areas of the South, from the Carolinas to Alabama, also were expected to see a wintry mix of snow, ice and freezing rain.