National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter Weather Preparedness Week for Georgia is December 4 - 8, 2023. The main threats from winter weather across the Southeast stem from snow and ice storms. Last winter season (2022-2023) was the fifth warmer than normal winter in a row! In fact, it was one of the top 10 warmest winters on record at all four of our official climate sites (Atlanta, Athens, Columbus, and Macon). With the mostly much warmer than normal winter last year, there was no notable winter weather in our area other than a brief cold air outbreak around Christmas. However, even in a warmer-than-normal winter, bouts of cold weather can still bring treacherous winter conditions, so it's important to remain prepared. Take a look below at some of the more recent significant winter weather events that have occurred in our area. Also, read below for the current outlook for the winter ahead. 

Recent Winter Weather Events:


*For more winter weather information and resources visit the National Weather Service's Winter Safety Page.

Wind Chill

Wind chill  takes into account how wind and cold feel on exposed skin rather than solely the actual temperature. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill.

[ Wind Chill Chart. ]
Health Hazards

Frostbite and hypothermia are two health hazards associated with cold weather. Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20°F will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately! If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm the affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.

Hypothermia is a condition that can kill and is brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. Take the person's temperature and if below 95°F, seek medical care immediately.

Safety Information

It is important to have a safety kit both at home and in the car that can be used not only in winter weather situations but also for other emergencies. Ready Georgia provides a list of items to include in your emergency kit. The following safety tips are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross.

If caught outside in a winter storm:

  • Try to find a shelter.
  • If no shelter is available:
    • Try to stay dry.
    • Cover all exposed body parts.
    • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
If stuck in a vehicle during a winter storm:
  • Stay in your vehicle.
  • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat.
  • Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine to be visible to the rescuers.
  • Tie a colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door.
  • After snow stops falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.
  • From time to time, move arms, legs, fingers and toes vigorously to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.
[ Wind Chill Chart. ]
If inside during a winter storm:
  • Stay inside!
  • When using alternate heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc. use fire safeguards and properly ventilate.
  • If there is no heat:
    • Close off unneeded rooms.
    • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
    • Cover windows at night.
    • Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.
Winter Weather Products
The winter weather products below have thresholds specific to the local area. Neighboring forecast offices may have slightly different triggers for issuing winter weather products.
[ Wind Chill Chart. ]
What is the current outlook for Winter 2023-2024?



The current outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is as follows:

  • Equal chances for near normal, above normal, or below normal temperatures are expected for the 3-month December - February period.
  • A strong signal for above normal precipitation across the area, especially the southern two-thirds of the area.

What does this mean?

A strong El Niño is forecast to remain in place through the winter, which would favor wetter conditions across the Southeast. While there is no particularly strong signal for below normal or above normal temperatures, it is important to remember that periods of cold weather will occur, even during an overall warmer season. In fact, some of our significant winter weather events listed above occurred during overall warmer seasons. Thus, it is important to remain prepared for winter weather!

For more technical information on how to interpret climate outlooks and detailed descriptions of the tools used to create these outlooks visit this link.


Looking for winter weather safety tips and more details about our local winter weather program?

Click here for some helpful videos!