Cold rain to inundate Atlanta during MLS Cup prime tailgating hours

Where can you park? Is tailgating allowed? How and when should we arrive? You've got questions and we've got answers.

If you are heading to the MLS Cup on Saturday, you will want to bring an umbrella.

There is a 100 percent chance of widespread cold rain across North Georgia on Saturday. The rain is expected to begin before sunrise Saturday and continue throughout the day, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said. That could put a damper on tailgating festivities around the city Saturday ahead of Atlanta United's match against the Portland Timbers in the league championship game.

Parking lots open at Mercedes-Benz stadium at 2:30 p.m., and celebrations begin at the International Plaza and Home Depot Backyard at 3 p.m. Around the stadium, parking lots in the area of the Gulch and along Northside Drive are the primary options for traditional tailgating.

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MORE: MLS Cup Atlanta: What fans need to know

Rain gear will likely be a necessity during prime tailgating hours up until kickoff at 8 p.m., according to Channel 2.

“It’s going to be wet with some of the heaviest rains on the Southside, anywhere from 3 to 4 inches of rain possible there,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

The most accumulation will be along I-20 and to the south, with 1 to 2 inches of rainfall expected to the north, she said. Downtown Atlanta could fall on either side of that line, but it won’t avoid getting wet, according to Channel 2.

To bring umbrellas into the stadium, they have to be under 33 inches.

Any other gear will need to be carried or toted in accordance with Atlanta United's clear bag policy, which is standard for all home matches.

Fans are strongly encouraged not to bring any type of bag, but each ticket holder is allowed one large, clear bag and a small clutch.

The policy also allows for blankets at game time, which may be a good idea considering temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s. Around 4 p.m., northeast Georgia could begin to see some wintry precipitation, according to Channel 2, but it will likely still be raining everywhere else.

RELATED: WEATHER ALERT: Winter storm watch issued for northeast Georgia

“We will continue to watch here in the metro area for a very cold and windy day,” Minton said. “Keep in mind winds (Saturday) could be up to as high as 30 mph at times.”

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

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