Weather update: Metro Atlanta drying out after storms

Metro Atlanta has begun drying out after a spate of rain flooded neighborhoods, delayed MARTA service and left people wondering whether Christmas had been transplanted to the tropics.

As showers move out of the area, temperatures are expected to reach as high as 75 degrees today, which would break the existing Christmas record of 72 degrees set in 1987, said Brad Nitz, meteorologist for Channel 2 Action News.

Consequently people are dispensing with any thought of spending a frosty Christmas swathed in sweaters before a fireplace.

Flood threats remain in effect for large areas of metro Atlanta and north Georgia after the Christmas Eve weather system, which also spawned deadly tornadoes in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

The day featured at least one miraculous rescue story.

An 87-year-old woman was fortunate to be alive after her car spun off the road and plunged into a flooded creek near Holly Springs on Thursday. Cherokee County firefighter Michael Axford had just left work and he and three other passersby saw the near-death accident, said Tim Cavender, spokesman for the Cherokee fire department.

The four good Samaritans got the woman out of the car, Cavender said. Then other firefighters arrived and deployed a 35-foot ladder to help get the woman up the steep bank, he said.

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in three north Georgia counties amid the torrential storms. The order extends to Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties through Jan. 10.

In many places, the heavy, consistent rains left people and municipalities with a lot of cleaning up to do. MARTA crews finished pumping out water from some train stations this morning, and all trains are running on time, said spokesman Lyle Harris.

MARTA had experienced delays on all rail lines due to the weather. Rail service between the Five Points and Oakland City stations was terminated and a bus bridge was established, a spokesman said.

Crews in Fayette County are working to rebuild a road caved in by floodwaters Thursday that left about 60 families trapped in their subdivision, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The workers have been at the subdivision near Canterbury Lane for hours after raging floodwaters blew out a culvert, creating a chasm 15-feet deep and trapping 60 families inside their homes.

Meanwhile, there were sewer spills into creeks across in Decatur.

Downed trees were reported in parts of metro Atlanta, and Georgia Power reported about 450 customers without power statewide just after 8 p.m, down from nearly 10,000 customers around 9 a.m.

The rough weather was also caused departure delays of two to three hours at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport earlier in the day. Delays were less than an hour early Thursday night, Channel 2 reported.

The weather system spawned two dozen tornadoes in six states from Indiana and Illinois to the Deep South, killing three people in Mississippi, two in Tennessee and one in Arkansas.

There had been no tornadoes reported in Georgia, but the wet and windy weather was causing other problems, from interstate crashes, which left a HERO worker injured, to downed trees in Buckhead and elsewhere in metro Atlanta.

Strong winds combined with the saturated ground to bring trees down in several locations, including on Tuxedo Drive and West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead and on Richardson Road in northwest Atlanta.

No injuries were reported when a large tree came crashing down on a home on Peyton Woods Court in southwest Atlanta.