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Seasonal allergies could be affecting your pets

The weather in some parts of the country is not helping people with allergies, and your pets could also be feeling the effects of the high pollen (and other allergens) count. 

>> Read more trending news 

Pets are often sniffling grass, other pets and the ground. They are also much closer to where the allergens can sit, so they could be more exposed to more allergens, such as pollen. 

>> On WFTV.com: More weather facts and hacks

Just like humans, dogs and cats can sneeze, get watery eyes and runny noses. Allergies can make these symptoms worse. According to the Humane Society, dogs often express pollen allergy symptoms by itching. The pollen gets on their fur, makes its way down to their skin and irritates it. 

>> On WFTV.com: Interactive: Common medications used to treat your cough

Here are some ways to help your pet cope with seasonal allergies:

  • Consult your veterinarian to make sure the irritation on the skin is not something worse. Your veterinarian can prescribe allergy medicine if needed. 
  • Try to limit activities outdoors, especially in the morning, when pollen levels are the highest.
  • After a walk, wash or wipe your pet's face and paws a wet towel. Just like in humans, the pollen can be washed out. 
  • When you bathe your pets, use warm water when applying shampoo and cool water to wash it off. Cold water helps with the itching. 

NASA Warns a Solar Storm is On Track to Hit Earth

NASA Warns a Solar Storm is On Track to Hit Earth

Tsunami warning sent from Texas to New York was a test, NWS says

People along the East and Gulf coasts took to social media Tuesday morning after a test tsunami warning was apparently confused for the real thing, prompting at least one company to send alerts to residents from Texas to New York City.

>> Read more trending news

The National Weather Service’s National Tsunami Warning Center sent out a monthly tsunami warning test around 8:30 a.m., according to officials.

“We have been notified that some users received this test messages as an actual tsunami warning,” officials with the NWS regional office in Caribou, Maine, said on Twitter. “A tsunami warning is not in effect. Repeat, a tsunami warning is not in effect.”

What You Need to Know: Tsunamis

What You Need to Know: Tsunamis

Must see: Europeans battle deadly winds in Germany, Netherlands

At least eight people have died after deadly winds blew through Europe.

Two firefighters are among the victims of the hurricane-strength winds that damaged buildings and tore trees from the ground, the BBC reported.

Travel was delayed due to the storm.

>> Read more trending news 

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn stopped running trains on Thursday, but restarted long-distance runs on Friday, according to media reports.

The storm is being considered one of the strongest storms to hit the country in 11 years, CNN reported.

Amsterdam’s air traffic was shut down after two of three terminals were closed when roof plates were blown off the building, CNN reported.

In other parts of Europe, users posted photos of damage to social media. 

Police use Facebook to help man get off work during icy weather

Police in Texas used social media to offer a helping hand to a man who was trying to get off work as roads across the region began to ice over earlier this week.

>> Read more trending news

Police posted a warning on their Facebook page at 6:37 a.m. Tuesday telling citizens that all city offices would be closed. They urged area residents to stay inside and do their best to keep warm.

One man needed more help and turned to the Seguin Police Department. Justin Garcia, who is listed on Facebook as a resident of San Marcos, asked police for a note for work.

>> Photos: Snow blankets the South

Deputy Chief Bruce Ure delivered:

“Dear Justin’s Boss,” Ure wrote, “The roads are bad and are going to get worse. Much worse. Please let him stay home, warm and safe and enjoy some Hulu or some cool shows on Netflix. And, he needs a raise. He rocks. Respectfully ~ Deputy Chief Ure.”

Garcia left a comment on the police Facebook page the next day, saying he had gotten the day off. 

LIVE UPDATES: Metro school districts close schools for Friday

ROADS: Atlanta wakes up Thursday to icy roads, light traffic

SCHOOLS: Schools closed again | Full list

TRASH PICKUP: DeKalbNorth FultonGwinnett  

YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: AtlantaCobbDeKalbNorth Fulton | Gwinnett 

AIRPORT: More than 200 Atlanta flights canceled Thursday

TIPS: Winter weather in Atlanta: How to prepare your family, home and car for hazardous weather

ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS: What do the designations mean?

Though the temperature finally made it above the freezing mark in Atlanta on Thursday, anything that melted will refreeze and make for icy conditions Friday morning, according to Channel 2 Action News.

While conditions improved on interstates due to the 40-degree weather, some surface streets were still iced over and too hazardous for travel Thursday, the Georgia Department of Transportation said. 

More than 1,100 traffic accidents have been reported in Gwinnett County alone since Wednesday morning.

Many schools and government offices were closed Thursday, and several school systems have already announced they will be closed again Friday, including: Atlanta, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Clayton, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gilmer, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Spalding and Troup. Carrollton City and Gwinnett County schools will have a two-hour delayed start.

All are in the 83 counties under Gov. Nathan Deal’s state of emergency order, which is still active.

This is how the day is unfolding:

7:15 p.m.: Fulton County Schools will remain closed Friday.

7 p.m.: Cherokee County Schools will remain closed Friday. 

6:45 p.m.: Henry County and Spalding County schools will stay closed Friday. 

6:30 p.m.: After earlier announcing a plan to open, Atlanta Public Schools plan to remain closed Friday.

6:15 p.m.: DeKalb and Fayette County schools announced they will remain closed Friday, while Gwinnett County Schools plan to open after a two-hour delay.

5:45 p.m.: Cobb County Schools will be closed Friday for a third straight day.

5:40 p.m.: Newton County Schools will remain closed Friday.

5:30 p.m.: MARTA will run on a modified schedule for bus and rail service Thursday evening into Friday. 

Bus service ends at 10 p.m. Thursday and limited bus service will resume at 4:30 a.m. Friday, with buses running on major roads and to medical facilities.

Rail service will continue on a modified weekend schedule until 2 a.m. Thursday and resume at 4:30 a.m. Friday, and run on a modified weekend schedule with trains arriving every 7 to 15 minutes. Red and Gold Lines will run to the airport until 2 a.m. 

5 p.m.: Carroll County, Coweta County, Paulding County, Douglas County and Pickens County schools will remain closed Friday.

4:30 p.m.: Carrollton City Schools will have a two-hour delayed start Friday. Staff and faculty are expected to arrive at the normal time.

4:15 p.m.: Bartow County Schools will remain closed Friday.

3:40 p.m.: Haralson County Schools will be closed again Friday.

3:30 p.m.: Clayton County Schools will remain closed Friday due to icy roads and hazardous conditions, the district said in a news release.

3:05 p.m.: Troup County Schools will be closed again Friday. “There are still many areas that are covered in large patches of ice and the areas that have thawed are expected to refreeze with the drop in temperatures tonight,” the system said in a statement.

3 p.m.: Atlanta hits 40 degrees and it finally starts to feel a bit better — at least in the sunshine.

2:53 p.m.: After two straight snow days, Atlanta Public Schools plan to reopen Friday. Students should expect to return to APS classrooms, the district announced in a Facebook post.

2:45 p.m.: “Many of the main roads in Douglas County are now passable, but access to many of our schools remains limited,” district officials wrote in a letter to parents. “... We will continue assessing the road conditions throughout the county to ensure that conditions are optimal for travel to school. We expect to provide you with an update on (Friday's) school schedule as quickly as possible.”

2:34 p.m.: An SUV with a New York license plate lost control on an icy hill and crashed into a home with an entire family inside, according to Channel 2 Action News. Before the SUV crashed into the home, the vehicle hit a Georgia Power transformer, a water main and a light pole, the news station reported. The family told Channel 2 they were spared because of the cars parked in their garage.

2 p.m.: Icy conditions have cleared after shutting down both directions of an I-75 Express Lanes ramp to Jonesboro Road, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

1:31 p.m.: “We'll be above freezing until about 8 p.m.,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

1:03 p.m.: It’s now above freezing at 34 degrees in Atlanta, Channel 2 Action News reported. But the wind chill is still making it feel like 26.

12:32 p.m.: Noah's Ark, Jodeco and Mundy's Mill roads are still complete sheets of ice, according to Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services. 

“Please find an alternate route,” a fire official said.

12:18 p.m.: Another hard freeze is expected overnight and early Friday as temperatures dip below freezing again about 8 p.m., Channel 2 reported. Temps, however, are expected to rebound to a high of 50 degrees Friday.

12:14 p.m.: It is 31 degrees in Atlanta, but it feels like 22 degrees, according to Channel 2 Action News. The expected high is 41 degrees.

11:58 a.m.: “We'll make it above freezing this afternoon,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said. 

Expect a warming trend ahead, he said.

11:54 a.m.: The city of Atlanta has expanded its resources to prepare for winter weather over the past few years, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during a press conference Thursday at Atlanta City Hall.

Officials will continue looking at opportunities to continue expanding resources, Bottoms said.

11:52 a.m.: Georgia Department of Transportation worker was killed while clearing a roadway covered in snow and ice. The worker was involved in an accident with a CSX train in Coweta County.

11:26 a.m.: Even though a wind chill advisory expired at 10 a.m. for metro Atlanta, icy conditions were reported in both directions of an I-75 Express Lanes ramp to Jonesboro Road, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. The ramp is blocked.

11:24 a.m.: “Miraculously, there were no major road-related incidents in the wee hours,” the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. “One (official) commented that they were actually able to slow down enough to do some police work. Go figure. All of the major thoroughfares are presently clear and passable, and no secondaries are shut down. However, please be aware there are still some very slick spots on those secondary roads where the ice didn't get a chance to thaw out from (Wednesday).”

11:17 a.m.: There are reports of icy road conditions on West Fayetteville Road and Creel Road in Clayton County. “We are also getting reports of vehicles sliding on Tara Blvd at McDonough Road,” Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services said. “Please avoid these areas.”

11:15 a.m.: The Atlanta Department of Public Works has treated 1,444 miles using 1,280 tons of salt.

11:10 a.m.: Douglas County government offices and the courthouse will remain closed today for non-essential employees.

11:07 a.m.: Six mornings have started in the teens in January, the most since 2014, according to Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls. “And January is far from over,” she said.

11:02 a.m.: Newnan, which was under a curfew until 10 a.m. to keep people off the roads, is back to normal operations. All city offices plan to open at noon.

9:53 a.m.: Atlanta has picked up 4.7 inches of snow this winter, making this season the 11th snowiest on record, Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. 

“And we still have two months of winter left,” Walls said.

Atlanta has gotten more snow than Washington, D.C., which has only mustered about 3.1 inches, according to The Washington Post.

“The number of Southern cities that have more snow than D.C. is embarrassing,” The Post said.

9:36 a.m.: “We are urging folks to give more time, if you can, before getting out on the roads,” the Georgia Department of Transportation said. “The interstates/state routes are in good shape, but not 100 percent.”

9:19 a.m.: Although snow still tops an upper parking deck at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, airlines are operating normally and security wait times are less than 15 minutes.

9:15 a.m.: Multiple vehicles are getting stuck on an ice patch on Noah’s Ark Road, according to Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services. Avoid the area.

8:51 a.m.: Warming stations at fire houses on Flat Shoals Road and Crown Point Parkway have closed in DeKalb County.

The warming center at Fire Station No. 3 at 100 N. Clarendon Ave., Avondale Estates, will remain open until noon.

8:30 a.m. Use “extreme caution” traveling on roads in Alpharetta because many still have ice patches, according to the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety. 

8:27 a.m.: It is 16 degrees in Atlanta, but it feels like it is 3 degrees, Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

8:11 a.m.: “Please be advised that all interstates and some ramps are not 100 percent,” the Georgia Department of Transportation said. “Icy patches are out there and we need you to slow down and drive with caution even though (the) sun is up.”

Crews worked overnight to treat areas.

“Now that daylight is here, those existing icy patches will now be visible,” GDOT said. “We are urging folks to give it more time for the sun to help us out, but if you must be on the roads, please use extreme caution entering and exiting ramps.”

7:50 a.m.: The Gwinnett County Police Department is down to five active weather-related calls. 

“Major roads are looking pretty good, but there are still ice patches,” police said. “Drive carefully and watch for black ice if you have to drive. We recommend staying off the roads until later today.”

The department reported Wednesday afternoon that it had responded to 567 traffic calls since midnight.

7:45 a.m.: The following roads are currently closed in DeKalb County due to snow and ice: Glenwood Road, from LaMesa Road to Hollyhock Road; Brownsmill Road, from Framingham Drive; Rockbridge Road, from Susan Creek and again from Rockbridge Court to San Marcos Court; 3032 North Decatur Road, from DeKalb Industrial Way to East Ponce De Leon Avenue; Waldrop Road, from Kingswood Run and again from Flat Shoals Parkway to River Road; and Covington Highway, from Miller Road to Scarborough Drive. 

7:36 a.m.: There is major icing on Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Buckhead, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Icy spots are blocking Rockbridge Road at South Indian Creek / Henderson Road in DeKalb County, too.

7:30 a.m.: MARTA rail services are operating on a weekend schedule, with 20 minute intervals, according to the agency. Buses are providing limited service, running on major roads and to medical facilities. 

7:26 a.m.: “The roads are not ready for you,” the Georgia Department of Public Safety said in a tweet. “They need the sun and temperatures to increase. Stay home, stay warm and have another cup of coffee.”

7:05 a.m.: Cars are taking it extra slow on a hairpin turn to avoid crashing on an icy ramp from I-75 South to I-85 North in Atlanta, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

6:49 a.m.: "The interstates are looking really great this morning." Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Natalie Dale told Channel 2. However, side streets are still in bad shape.

Dale said crews adjusted the brine solution they apply to roads by adding calcium chloride to deal with the extreme low temperatures.

6:45 a.m.:  The HOV lane on I-85 South before Clairmont Road is still very icy, Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said. 

“Use extra caution,” he told Channel 2.

6:39 a.m.: Atlanta and Athens set snowfall records, Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said. “Record daily maximum snowfall set in Atlanta (Wednesday) with 2.4 (inches) of snow, breaking the old record of a trace in 2016,” she said. Athens had more than an inch of snow, according to Channel 2.

6:30 a.m.: There have been nearly 200 cancellations in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to Channel 2 Action News.

6:27 a.m.: Appointments at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will resume at 1 p.m. Urgent care centers will reopen at that time, too.

6:15 a.m.: MARTA bus service, which ended at 10 p.m. Wednesday, is back in operation. However, service is limited.

6:07 a.m.: Atlanta’s temperature is 15 degrees, and it feels like zero, according to Channel 2 Action News.

5:54 a.m.: Temps are expected to still be below freezing by noon, but a warmup is on the way, Channel 2 reported.

The forecast calls for temps to hit the 40s in Atlanta by 3 p.m.

“This starts the trend of warmer temps for the rest of the week,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

5:35 a.m.: Coweta County and city of Newnan officials have issued a curfew lasting until 10 a.m. to keep people off the roads, according to the county. The curfew went into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Those driving to and from work will be granted an exception if they can provide work IDs

5:19 a.m.: “Here’s the bottom line folks,” WSB 24-hour Traffic Center reporter Mark Arum said. “The surface streets are still going to be nasty as you head out this morning.”

5:17 a.m.: “The sunshine is going to help warm us up starting this afternoon,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

5 a.m.: Georgia Piedmont Technical College is closed today and will remain closed through Saturday, according to the school.

4:30 a.m.: A wind chill advisory that went into effect Wednesday is set to last until 10 a.m. today for metro Atlanta and other parts of North Georgia, according to the National Weather Service.

“Temperatures will feel like they are between 5 above to 5 below zero,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said. “Dress in layers, and please keep pets inside.”

» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.

Super blue blood moon eclipse: What you need to know

super blue blood moon? Yes!

It is happening on the last day of this month. A blue moon typically gets its name when it occurs as the second of two full moons in one calendar month.

>> ‘Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth

But something very special will happen to the moon on this date. The full moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow during the early morning of Jan. 31 to give us a total lunar eclipse. During the time of the total eclipse, the moon will appear reddish in color, which is where it gets to be called a “blood moon.” Totality, when the moon will be entirely inside the Earth’s dark umbral shadow, will last a bit more than 1 1/4 hours.

The Jan. 31 full moon is also the third in a series of three straight full moon supermoons – that is, super-close full moons. It’s the first of two blue moons in 2018. So it’s not just a lunar eclipse, or a blue moon, or a supermoon. It’s all three – a super blue moon eclipse.

Is it the first blue moon total eclipse in 150 years in America.

>> Read more trending news 

The eclipse will get underway at 6:48 a.m. EST/3:48 a.m. PST Jan. 31. You’ll have to be up high with a good view of the western horizon to see the eclipse when it is total, as the moon will be setting as the eclipse reaches totality.

Those in the western United States will be able to view the full eclipse. But don’t let the setting moon stop you from getting to see a good part of the eclipse. It still should be a neat sight early in the morning if skies are clear and it is not too cold.

– Eric Elwell is WHIO-TV's chief meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky

Another meteor may have lit up the sky late Wednesday.

>> Click here to watch

Several reports have come into WHIO-TV's newsroom of a bright flash that shot across the sky just before midnight Thursday. People from Englewood, Ohio; Marysville, Ohio; and Randolph County, Indiana, have said they saw the bright flash, with some saying it was bright blue or blue-green.

>> WATCH: Meteor spotted in Ohio, Michigan, Canada

The American Meteor Society received several reports of a meteor in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky.

>> Read more trending news 

A meteor also was spotted in Ohio, Michigan and Canada late Tuesday.

Georgia sheriff: I don't care if you're from Wisconsin or need beer, stay home

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was back at it again with the jokes (and insults) as Georgia woke up to a messy wintry mix Wednesday, prompting schools, businesses and nearly three-fourths of the state’s roadways to close.

>> Is it safe to eat snow? Here's why you really shouldn't

State government offices are remaining closed for non-essential personnel Thursday across the 83 counties affected by winter weather, Gov. Nathan Deal said.

>> Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

Although the weather’s no joke, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office brought some humor to its Facebook page on what many found to be a frustrating snow day.

>> 5 things you won’t want to leave in a freezing car

“I know you need cigarettes, beer and wine to get you through having your kids at home. Can you just do without for a day? Stay home,” one post read.

In another post, the office noted the multiple morning crashes due to the inclement weather. “Body shops and wrecker companies just love y’all.”

More from the Sheriff’s Office:

>> On AJC.com: How to prepare your family, home and car for hazardous weather

While most readers lauded the sheriff’s office for its jokes, some found the announcements to be disrespectful.

“Government entity at its finest. Oconee, be respectful! We all feel what you are saying, however, some of the things you are saying are offense considering you are a government office and serving the public (those stupid beer and cigarette runners). Thank you!” commenter Wendi Turpen Hood wrote.

>> Read more trending news 

Another commenter, Nikki Giamarino, noted some serious implications of bad weather.

“My employer called off work. But what about people who’s employer didn’t? What about single parents who cannot afford to lose their jobs due to absence? I wish the world was a kinder place,” she wrote.

>> On AJC.com: Atlanta snow 2018: Twitter erupts in memes, jokes and snowy scenes

This isn’t the first time the Oconee Sheriff’s Office has garnered attention for its humor.

Following Georgia’s win against Auburn last month, the office wrote, “Show proof you graduated from Auburn and we will discount your speeding tickets by 5 miles per hour,” the post said. “Y'all have had enough of a beating today.”

In August, before the total solar eclipse, Oconee Sheriff Scott Berry warned residents to prepare for the end of the world. “It’s very likely this is the end of life on this planet as we know it,” he wrote.

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