Friday will be the calm before the storm.
A line of strong storms is expected to move across North Georgia on Saturday, bringing heavy rain, strong wind gusts and the possibility of tornadoes. Much of metro Atlanta and areas to the west are under a Level 2 out of 5 risk for severe weather, which Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said is a moderate risk level.
“I don’t think this (line of storms) is one that’s going to be weakening quickly as it moves into North Georgia,” he said.
While it is quiet Friday morning, Monahan said areas of rain to the west and northwest of Georgia will converge on the state Saturday afternoon. The first half of the day should not be so bad, he said.
“It will be warm, it will be humid, a few light showers, but no severe weather risk through lunchtime,” he said. “Any errands you’ve got planned, I would plan on doing them early in the day on Saturday.”
By early evening, Monahan expects the first storms to reach northwest Georgia. Winds in excess of 60 mph will be “a key part of the forecast,” he said.
“A strong wind coming in from the Gulf of Mexico is going to give us the risk for some strong wind gusts and, because of the way that wind is twisting and turning in the atmosphere, the possibility of a brief spinup tornado,” he said.
The tornado risk is low, but there is a high risk of flooding with all the heavy rain as well as a moderate risk of damaging wind gusts, according to Channel 2.
Ahead of it all, Monahan said North Georgia will have a mostly cloudy and warm Friday. A few light showers are 20% likely starting around lunchtime, and the chance increases to 30% later in the afternoon.
“Yeah there is going to be a little bit of rain around, but it’s not going to be much,” he said.
The clouds around Friday morning are keeping North Georgia warm. Temperatures in metro Atlanta are running about 15 degrees higher than on Thursday morning for a start in the mid-50s.
In LaGrange, the morning is starting about 30 degrees higher than the day before, according to Channel 2.
These are “temperatures in many neighborhoods that are warmer than we typically get in an early January afternoon,” Monahan said.
There are signs the region may get a return to actual winter weather, but he said any significant change is still a few weeks away.
“Today we'll be in the mid-60s,” Monahan said. “Seventy degrees tomorrow ahead of those storms, and a little break Sunday. Sunday is going to be the best day of your weekend before more rain moves in.”
Next week is also looking pretty rainy. North Georgia will have to “get ready for a pretty soggy stretch of weather over the next week or so,” he said.
Traffic along the Perimeter is lighter than normal Friday morning, but a crash on the Westside could cause some early issues for the morning commute, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
The crash was at times blocking a left lane on I-20 East at Thornton Road. With no big delays just yet, no alternates are needed, the Traffic Center reported.
That could change. Traffic reporter Ashley Frasca said experience shows any crash on I-20 can cause “a big jam” heading into the city through Douglas County.
» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.
» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.
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