Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz has your forecast.

LOOKING AHEAD: Atlanta rain settles in for the new year

It’s raining. It’s probably going to rain again. And again.

Three rounds of storms are expected to dump 3 to 6 inches of rain over several days across water-logged metro Atlanta, according to Channel 2 Action News, bringing high winds followed by flash flooding through the New Year.

“At this point, New Year’s Eve at midnight is not looking good,” Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. “Have a backup plan right now because rain, at this point, is in the picture.”
RELATED: Channel 2 Action News Weather Forecast 

Two inches of rain may seem like just another drop in the bucket during a year that already ranks as the eighth wettest since 1879. But now, that bucket is full to the brim. More than 65 inches of rain has fallen so far this year, according to the National Weather Service, with heavy rains earlier this month.

What’s worse, local creeks are prone to flash flooding because decades of development paved over areas where runoff used to go, said Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Thiem. A flash flood watch that went into effect 7 p.m. Thursday for all of North Georgia will last through 7 a.m. Saturday.

Creeks and rivers that typically flood during heavy rains will likely do so again, Thiem said. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Big Creek near Alpharetta from Friday morning until Sunday. North of Rome, Lookout Creek near New England and Chattooga River near Summerville are also expected to flood.

This year may be the third wettest on record by the time the big peach drops at Underground Atlanta.

The strongest storms are set to blow through northwest metro Atlanta late Thursday through Friday morning, with wind gusts as high as 40 m.p.h. north of a line stretching from Carol County, through Cobb and up to Habersham. Friday’s highs will be in the mid-60s.

The heaviest rains will fall in far north Georgia, with Blairsville and Dalton seeing as much as three inches of rain before Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. The next two rounds of storms should arrive between then and Wednesday.

Isolated downed trees and power outages are possible, Walls said. In Atlanta, Department of Watershed Management workers are checking drains and stormwater catch basins that are prone to flooding to ensure they are clear, a spokesman said.

Pedestrians enjoy a walk with their dogs along the Atlanta Beltline during a chilly, cloudy afternoon in Atlanta, Thursday, December 27, 2018. Rain is in the forecast for late Thursday afternoon and evening in metro-Atlanta.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rain fatigue

The rain may break on Saturday when chances of showers drop to 20 percent, but metro Atlanta may not see the sun again until Thursday, Thiem said.

Many are feeling rain fatigue.

“It’s a bummer,” said Colleen Dunbar, a teacher who lives in Avondale Estates. “I feel bad for the kids who miss out on recess and have to be inside.”

Dunbar, who teaches at the 4/5 Academy in Decatur, said the school received new playground equipment several weeks ago, but it has not yet been installed because the ground is too wet. For now, it just waits. Her daughter Emily, who is 12, said she’s noticed she’s been sleeping more because of the rain.

“It’s kind of annoying because my friends and I, we can’t do stuff outdoors,” said Emily.

But they had a plan in place to escape the rain—a trip next week to North Carolina.

“Hopefully it won’t be raining in North Carolina,” said Dunbar.

Meanwhile, a couple teenagers entering Perimeter Mall said they take rain—even a lot of it—in stride.

“I like the rain,” said Diana Sobolevskaya, who is 17, and a senior Centennial High School in Roswell. “I can stay at home, rest, watch movies.”

“Same,” added Michael Sullivan, also a student at Centennial High School in Roswell.

If they and others stay home, several outdoor New Year’s celebrations will go on without them.

The annual Peach Drop celebration will continue as planned, as will the family-friendly Noon Year’s Eve party at Ponce City Market at The Roof at Skyline Park, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.

As long as the winds stay calm, East Atlanta Village revelers can watch a fireworks show that raises funds for the neighborhood association, said Johnathan Barhite of J&M Displays, who is co-producing the event.

Experienced fireworks professionals know how to shoot in rain and snow, Barhite said. Even a flooded field is no obstacle. They can shoot from atop a flatbed truck.

“Honestly, the rain is not as bad as the heat,” Barhite said.

No downer necessary

Rainy days can make people more susceptible to feeling blue, even lonely, experts say. But rain falling from the sky doesn’t have to be a downer.

John Grohol, founder and CEO of Psych Central, an online resource run by mental health professionals, has reviewed various studies on weather and mood. And while many suggest a correlation, the weather’s impact on our mood may not be as great as we sometimes believe it to be, he said.

A 2011 Dutch study of 415 adolescents found that half wasn’t really impacted much at all by changes in the weather, while the other half was, he said.

Whether people in the study were impacted by weather can depend on a person’s weather personality type. In the study, 9 percent described themselves as “rain haters”—angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation.

In other words, some people are averse to rain, while others take it in stride. Then again, some people are more sensitive to weather changes, and not just rain, but extreme heat or cold.

For those rain haters, brace yourselves for more soggy, dreary days.

If the rains force you to be cooped inside, Grohol, based in Massachusetts, suggests engaging in activities that make you feel joy, such as watching an upbeat movie, playing a board game, or reading a book.

- AJC reporter Raisa Habersham contributed to this article.

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