Gov. Brian Kemp took a pre-emptive step to address the winter storm expected to move through north Georgia this weekend by issuing a state of emergency declaration for about 91 counties on Friday night.

"Due to the possibility of black ice accumulating on roadways, the winter storm poses a danger to the people of Georgia and assistance from the state of Georgia is necessary to provide for the public's health, safety, and welfare, protect public and private property and mitigate consequences of this winter storm," Kemp wrote in his declaration.

The governor cited the fact that the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for north Georgia, dipping as far as south as Gwinnett County, on Friday afternoon as part of the reason for his declaration.

Weather forecasters are predicting ice, snow, freezing rain and sleet on Sunday, with as much as five inches of snowfall in parts of the forecast area, although it could be higher in areas where the elevations are higher.

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"The Winter Storm Watch predicts one-quarter of an inch of ice in affected areas which may continue to spread and impact more of the state as the severe weather travels down to the metro Atlanta area," Kemp wrote in his emergency declaration.

As the weather service's forecasts for Sunday's anticipated storm has evolved, it has warned that at least communities north of Interstate 20 are expected to be impacted in one way or another. Kemp highlighted that fact in his state of emergency declaration as well as forecasts for winds gusts between 25 and 35 mph.

The counties covered by the declaration include: Baldwin; Banks; Barrow; Bartow; Bibb; Bleckley; Burke; Butts; Carroll; Catoosa; Chattooga; Cherokee; Clarke; Clayton; Cobb; Columbia; Coweta; Crawford; Dade; Dawson; DeKalb; Douglas; Elbert; Emanuel; Fannin; Fayette; Floyd; Forsyth; Franklin; Fulton; Gilmer; Glascock; Gordon; Greene; Gwinnett; Habersham; Hall; Hancock; Haralson; Harris; Hart; Heard; Henry; Houston; Jackson; Jasper; Jefferson; Jenkins; Johnson; Jones; Lamar; Laurens; Lincoln; Lumpkin; Madison; McDuffie; Meriwether; Monroe; Morgan; Murray; Newton; Oconee; Oglethorpe; Paulding; Peach; Pickens; Pike; Polk; Putnam; Rabun; Richmond; Rockdale; Screven; Spalding; Stephens; Talbot; Taliaferro; Towns; Treutlen; Troup; Twiggs; Union; Upson; Walker; Walton; Warren; Washington; White; Whitfield; Wilkes; and Wilkinson.

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