A strong storm system moved across the Southeast on Christmas Day: a strong upper level disturbance over the Great Lakes extended south toward the Gulf Coast, and an associated area of low pressure moved across the northern Gulf of Mexico. Precipitation began Christmas Eve, quickly changing from rain to snow across extreme north Georgia. For the rest of north and central Georgia, the changeover occurred from northwest to southeast during the day on Christmas Day as temperatures dropped to near freezing. The highest accumulations occured in the north Georgia mountains, where anywhere between 6 and 8 inches of snow were reported, but even the Atlanta Metro area saw between 1-3 inches - the first measurable snow on Christmas Day since 1881. As the system slowly moved east, snow continued on the 26th resulting in additional accumulations across east central Georgia.
Very cold temperatures moved in behind the system and any moisture on the roads froze overnight Christmas night, causing significant road problems. Strong winds, at times gusting to between 25-35 mph, also spread across the area on the 26th. With high temperatures across most of north Georgia below freezing, wind chills in the single digits were noted throughout the day. Flurries and light snow continued through the 26th for most of the area as the storm system moved up the East Coast.