Apr 6, 2017

Tornado watch for northwest Georgia in effect until 10 p.m.

Atlanta watershed employees were trapped after their car stalled in the flooded Peachtree Creek near Woodward Way. The public works crew rescued by fire Swift rescue team.

4:08 p.m. Storm damage has affected several parts of the metro Atlanta area. Crews are working to fix gas line in Henry County after lightning split a 3-inch line, according to Channel 2. A Douglas County emergency manager reports a tree on a mobile home, the news station reported. The mobile home was evacuated. The Gwinnett County emergency manager reported power lines are also reported down in Buford.

3:18 p.m. Gwinnett County firefighters responded to a tree down on a home in Lilburn. Several people were inside, but no one was injured, Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. The tree damaged the home’s second floor.
3:15 p.m. Metro Atlanta is under a flash flood warning until about 7:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

3:13 p.m. More than 4,800 people are without power and nearly 130 outages have been reported, according to Georgia Power. There are nearly 2,700 outages in metro Atlanta, Georgia EMC reports.

2:57 p.m. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of northwest Georgia. The watch expires about 10 p.m.

2:14 p.m.: The FAA is reporting delays of nearly three hours at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

2:05 p.m.: Storms should subside in metro Atlanta by midnight, according to Channel 2.

2:03 p.m.: Severe storms and tornadoes are possible with a line expected to move in this evening, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

2:01 p.m.: Nitz said metro Atlanta could get a brief break from the severe weather around late afternoon.

1:57 p.m.: Play at the Masters was suspended for the remainder of the day.

1:41 p.m.: The ground stop at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been lifted. However, delays remain.

1:29 p.m.: A flash flood warning has been issued for Fulton until 7:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

1:28 p.m.: All of metro Atlanta has been dropped from a tornado watch that was set to expire at 8 p.m. The watch is still in effect for counties south of the metro area.

1:21 p.m.: While metro Atlanta remains under a “moderate” storm risk, the National Weather Service has upgraded the risk to “high” in other parts of Georgia. That is the highest possible designation and “very rare,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said. Areas under a “high” risk could see “long-lived, very widespread and particularly intense” storms, according to the National Weather Service.

1:12 p.m.: Rain has taken down part of a retaining wall at the Flynn Crossing Publix shopping center entrance, according to Channel 2. The entrance is at McGinnis Ferry Road and Windward Parkway in Forsyth County.

1:01 p.m.: A tornado watch set to expire at 1 p.m. has been extended to 8 p.m. Metro Atlanta and other parts of North Georgia are part of that watch.

12:48 p.m.: All tornado warnings have expired — for now, according to Channel 2.

12:46 p.m.: Cobb County is under a flash flood warning until 4:45 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

12:38 p.m.: The only active tornado warning is scheduled to expire at 1 p.m. for an area between Mansfield in Newton County and Shady Dale in Jasper County, Channel 2 reported. Other tornado warnings have been canceled.

12:36 p.m. Brief power outages were reported at the University of Georgia. Channel 2 chief meteorologist Glenn Burns warned the campus to “be alert” because hail is heading that way.

12:32 p.m.: Springdale Drive is temporarily shut down from Williams Place to Skyland Drive due to a downed tree, Snellville police said.

12:26 p.m.: To recap, there are four tornado warnings in effect for parts of Georgia. One of them for Clayton, Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties is set to expire at 1 p.m. Another is set to expire at 12:45 p.m. for Coweta Fayette and Spalding counties. Another will last until 1:15 p.m. for Stewart and Webster counties.

And a separate tornado warning will last through 12:30 p.m. for Quitman and Randolph counties.

12:14 p.m.: Tornado warnings were issued for Butts, Coweta, Fayette, Henry, Jasper, Newton and Spalding counties, according to the National Weather Service. Stewart and Webster counties also are under a tornado warning. They are expected to expire this afternoon.

12:10 p.m.: The National Weather Service has recorded flooding in Lawrenceville, where Pew Creek crossed the 11-foot threshold to be in the flood zone, meteorologist Kent McMullen said. Other creeks that the agency does not monitor may also have flooded.

The agency put out a flash flood warning for DeKalb and Gwinnett counties that goes until 5:30 p.m. The rest of the metro region, including areas from Homer to Athens to Macon and Columbus, are under a flood watch until 2 a.m.

"With more rain, it's quite possible more warnings will be issued," McMullen said. "Some of the creeks we don't monitor are pretty close to bank full."

The storms should be "more than enough" to send more creeks over their banks, he said.

McMullen warned people to be careful of sudden floods.

"Watch the roads and don't cross any roads that are flooded, no matter how safe it seems," he said

12:01 p.m.: Zoo Atlanta has closed for the day “in expectation of inclement weather,” spokeswoman Rachel Davis said.

noon: There’s quite a bit of flooding in Paulding County, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said. South Main Street, from McTyre Drive to West Foster Avenue, will be closed until further notice due to flooding, the Dallas Police Department said.

11:49 a.m.: Power lines are down at Spalding Drive and Brandon Hall Drive in Sandy Springs. Crews are on the way.

11:47 a.m.: A flash flood warning is in effect until 5:30 p.m. for DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, according to the National Weather Service.

11:46 a.m.: Round No. 2 is pushing through the heart of metro Atlanta right now, Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. Heavy rain is leading to flooding, she said.

11:42 a.m.: Clark Atlanta University is canceling all classes and programming. An Emergency Management Agency is reporting pea-sized hail at Georgia Tech, Channel 2 said.

11:29 a.m.: Veterans Drive at Old Acworth Road will be closed until further notice due to flooding, Dallas police said.

11:24 a.m.: Stone Mountain Park has closed, officials said.

11:19 a.m.: Thunderstorms are moving through south Cherokee County and parts of Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb and Clayton counties. The National Weather Service is advising residents in those places to "seek shelter immediately." They could get 50-mph winds, pea-sized hail and lightning.

11:11 a.m.: Georgia EMC power outages are down from 5,300 to 543 in metro Atlanta. Georgia Power has 104 outages affecting more than 4,030 people.

10:55 a.m.: The severe storm risk for parts of North Georgia might increase from moderate to high, the most intense category, according to Channel 2.

10:53 a.m.: Lightning hit a pine tree and sparked a house fire on Grand Forest Drive in Forsyth County. There was damage to an attic, the second floor and a bonus room, Forsyth County fire spokesman Jason Shivers said.

Lightning also hit a house on Flagstaff Drive.

There were no injuries in the incidents.

10:36 a.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Bartow, Carroll, Cobb, Douglas, Haralson, Paulding and Polk counties. It is expected to last through 11:15 a.m. The alert warns of wind gusts up to 60 mph, hail damage to vehicles and wind damage to homes and trees.

10:23 a.m.: The course at Augusta National Golf Club has been evacuated and today's practice round has been suspended until further notice in advance of severe weather.

10:20 a.m.: Lightning strikes are suspected in fires in DeKalb, Forsyth, Gwinnett and Hall counties, according to Channel 2.

10:17 a.m.: Georgia EMC reports 5,300 power outages in metro Atlanta and 5,706 outages throughout Georgia. Georgia Power has 95 outages affecting more than 4,240 customers.

10:10 a.m.: There have been three weather-related fires in Gwinnett County, fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. Crews are still working to get two fires under control in the 4000 block of Winchester Way and in the 5100 block of Bowers Brook Drive. A caller told officials the latter was the result of lightning. There was another report of lightning that caused a fire in the 6000 block of Old Town Place. There were no injuries reported in any of the incidents.

10:03 a.m. Stone Mountain Park could close amid severe storms.

10:01 a.m.: There are reports of flooding and downed tree limbs in Midtown, according to Channel 2.

9:53 a.m.: Two structure fires are possibly the result of lightning strikes in Hall County, an Emergency Management Agency official told Channel 2. One of the fires is at a home in the 7300 block of Club Crest Drive. Authorities reported smoke coming from the attic. The other fire is at a home in the 4200 block of Price Road in the northern part of the county, Channel 2 reported.

9:49 a.m.: The National Weather Service has expanded a flash flood watch to include Banks, Bartow, Cherokee, Forsyth and Hall counties. Carroll, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Gwinnett counties were already part of the watch.

9:33 a.m.: Thunderstorms are moving northeast at 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Pea-sized hail, frequent lightning and heavy rain have been reported in Barrow, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Jackson, Rockdale and Walton counties.

“People outdoors should seek shelter immediately,” the NWS said.

Flooding and minor damage from trees are likely.

9:32 a.m.: A ground stop is in effect for arriving flights at Hartsfield-Jackson, with flights bound for Atlanta being held on the ground due to the storm. Delays are 15 to 29 minutes and increasing, according to the FAA.

9:31 a.m.: Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said his agency had "no major storm calls to report thus far." There was one report of a tree and wires down on Temple Johnson Road near Snellville, but that issue had already been addressed by a utility company, he said. "Fire command staff is continuing to work closely with emergency management officials and are monitoring the weather situation and call volume," Rutledge said.

9:25 a.m.: The heaviest rainfall is moving through Clayton County toward Rex, Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said.

9:23 a.m.: To be clear, while there are no active warnings, metro Atlanta is still under a tornado watch until 1 p.m. A watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado; a warning means a tornado has been spotted.

9:15 a.m.: While there are no active warnings, parts of metro Atlanta are seeing torrential rainfall, damaging wind gusts and hail, Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. “This is round No. 1,” she said.

9:14 a.m.: Strong winds and hail are moving into Clayton and Fayette counties, according to Channel 2.

9:09 a.m.: Clayton, northeast Coweta, south DeKalb, Fayette and Fulton counties are under a significant weather advisory until 9:45 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. Those areas can expect winds up to 40 mph, penny-sized hail, frequent lightning and heavy rain. Heavy rain may cause temporary street flooding, especially in poor drainage areas.

9:03 a.m.: Chattahoochee Hills fire chief reported golf ball sized hail in south Fulton County, according to Channel 2.

9 a.m.: A tornado warning that included Fulton County has expired.

8:53 a.m.: Flights at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have been grounded due to storms in Atlanta, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

8:39 a.m.: Gov. Nathan Deal canceled a news conference on the I-85 fire and collapse due to severe weather. It was originally planned for Wednesday morning at the Georgia State MARTA station.

8:36 a.m.: Downpours are pounding I-85 near Senoia Road in south Fulton County, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

8:35 a.m.: “Folks in Newnan really need to take precautions right now,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

8:27 a.m.: Cherokee, Cobb and north Fulton counties could get 50 mph winds, nickel sized hail and lightning through 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Expect minor damage to tree limbs.

8:17 a.m.: Fulton, Carroll, Coweta, Fayette and and Heard are under a tornado warning until 9 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

8:16 a.m.: Due to today's severe weather, Six Flags Over Georgia is closed.

8:11 a.m.: Rain has been spotted in DeKalb County.

8:10 a.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Clayton County.

UPDATE [7:55 a.m.]: A tornado watch went into effect for all of metro Atlanta just before 8 a.m. It is expected to last through 1 p.m.



Today: Severe storms likely. High: 72

Tonight: Heavy rain. Low: 61

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy. High: 59

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.

Ahead of multiple rounds of dangerous weather expected to trigger widespread power outages and other damages, the National Weather Service early Wednesday expanded a severe thunderstorm watch to include much of metro Atlanta.

Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties are part of the watch, which is set to expire at 9 a.m. In Carroll and Douglas counties, the National Weather Service upgraded the watch to a warning.

A watch means severe weather is likely; a warning means it has been spotted.

DeKalb, Gwinnett and north Fulton counties are under a flash flood watch until 2 a.m. Thursday.

Conditions in metro Atlanta are dry now.

However, “it’s going to be a long day,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

The system is expected be nothing like the one that produced as many as 20 tornadoes in Georgia on Monday, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.

Wednesday’s storms could be worse, according to Channel 2. Storms are expected to hit parts of metro Atlanta later this morning and continue throughout the day.

Metro Atlanta faces a moderate severe storm risk for destructive hail, powerful winds, strong tornadoes and heavy rain, the news station reported. While moderate may not sound alarming, meteorologists said don’t be fooled. Only one other designation — high — poses a greater risk, according to the National Weather Service.

There is a 15 percent probability of tornadoes for North Georgia.

“Usually, it’s only 2 percent in our area,” she said. “I’ve never seen it up to 15 percent. And while that doesn’t sound (like) a lot, it is.”

The threat of severe weather prompted districts to cancel or delay the start of the school.

Meriwether County and Rome public schools, Griffin-Spalding County Schools, the University of West Georgia and Albany State University announced that campuses would be closed Wednesday.

Putnam County Schools will dismiss early, according to the school system.

Senoia Municipal Court is closed, Channel 2 reported.

—Staff writers Ben Brasch, Arielle Kass, Amanda Coyne, Tyler Estep, Mitchell Northam, Joshua Sharpe, Leo Willingham and Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this report.

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