WEATHER-TRAFFIC UPDATE: Roadways remain packed during holiday weekend travel

ATLANTA FORECAST

Friday: High: 80

Friday night: Low: 68

Saturday: High: 82

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

The evening commute started early at around 3 p.m. today, and the congested roadways haven’t eased up.

The WSB 24-hour Traffic Center said those getting away for the holiday weekend should expect to sit in lots of traffic.

MORE: These are the worst times to drive in Atlanta this Memorial Day weekend

A vehicle fire on I-85 North near North Druid Hills Road has been cleared, but the Traffic Center said delays remain.

 

A wreck on I-20 near Riverside Parkway in Cobb County has also congested traffic, according to the Traffic Center.

Those heading to Lake Allatoona for Memorial Day should also expect heavy traffic because of an earlier wreck on I-75 South near Ga. 92 in Acworth, according to the Traffic Center.

Memorial Day travelers hit the road early Friday on I-85 just north of downtown Atlanta. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

If you’re heading out to spend Memorial Day weekend at the beach, you may want to rethink those plans. Subtropical Storm Alberto is headed for the Gulf Coast and is forecast to make landfall Monday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

At that point, it could be a tropical storm with expected winds in excess of 39 mph.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Katie Walls said that the area of tropical moisture over the Caribbean developed into a subtropical storm Friday morning. With the upgrade, the storm also gets a name: Alberto.

 

“Subtropical means that it’s a storm that gets its strength from other (non-tropical) sources ... so we’re still facing the same strength that would come with a tropical storm,” Walls said.

Tropical storm watches have been issued for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, Walls said.

 

According to the latest forecast, Friday should be muggy and cloudy with a chance of scattered showers. And some of those showers could be slow-moving and big rainmakers, Channel 2 reported.

Athens and Gainesville should get drenched most of the day, Channel 2 Chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said. 

“(Friday) evening, we’re looking at heavy rains in eastern Georgia,” Burns said. “That’s the primary area that we’re going to focus on for flooding potential.”

A flash flood watch is in effect for dozens of North and Middle Georgia counties through 8 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

“Additional rounds of very heavy rainfall are likely as a trough of low pressure to the west feeds very high amounts of moisture into the area,” the Weather Service said. “Total rainfall amounts through Friday night could range from 2 to 4 inches with isolated amounts up to 8 inches.”

The flash flood watch includes metro Atlanta.

“This will likely be extended because of subtropical storm Alberto,” Walls said.

 

Atlanta won’t get a break from the rain this weekend or next week.  

The chance of rain is 60 percent Saturday, with a slightly higher 70 percent chance Sunday and 80 percent chance Monday.

RELATED: MEMORIAL DAY WEATHER: Have a rain plan for outdoor celebrations

The heaviest rainstorms and a small chance of isolated tornadoes will start around 7 a.m. Sunday, according to Channel 2. 

 

The rain is keeping tree pollen counts in the moderate range, while grass and weed pollen remain low. The count decreased slightly from 24 particles per cubic meter of air Thursday to 19 Friday.

 

If the rain won’t let up, construction delays on state roadways will. The Georgia Department of Transportation is suspending construction-related lane closures from noon Friday until 5 a.m. Tuesday on interstates and limiting lane closures on state routes that directly serve major tourist and recreation centers, the agency said in a tweet. 

 

» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.

» Download The Atlanta Journal-Constitution app for weather alerts on-the-go

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