WEATHER-TRAFFIC: There’s not many crashes, but Atlanta’s evening commute is at a crawl

Friday’s evening commute has turned into a slow drive home, but the good news is there isn’t many wrecks stifling the interstates.

There’s just lots of cars.

The WSB 24-hour Traffic Center is showing I-75 in Cobb and Henry counties as the slowest interstate at 5 p.m., but the Perimeter and Downtown Connector aren’t moving quickly either.

At 5 p.m., several interstates are moving slow, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
Photo: WSB 24-hour Traffic Center

I-20 in DeKalb County is also recovering from a crash that blocked two eastbound lanes near Wesley Chapel Road, the Traffic Center reported. The crash was cleared about 4:45 p.m.


Every interstate is an improvement on Cobb’s traffic on I-285 earlier Friday when three tractor-trailers and a Toyota Corolla were involved in a chain-reaction crash.

The crash blocked all northbound lanes at the Paces Ferry Road exit in Cobb County for more than an hour. The wreck, which involved an Amazon tractor-trailer and two other big rigs, was cleared and all lanes reopened just after 1 p.m., according to the Traffic Center.

One of the tractor-trailers was following too closely behind another, and when traffic lagged, it slammed into the back of the rig, the Georgia State Patrol said. The collision caused the chain reaction, which picked up the third tractor-trailer and the Corolla.

Three tractor-trailers and a Toyota Corolla were involved in a chain-reaction crash Friday afternoon on I-285 North at Paces Ferry Road, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
Photo: Georgia Department of Transportation

“The impact between the first two tractor-trailers was with enough force and at an angle to remove the cab off of its chassis,” a GSP spokesman said in a statement. “The driver of that tractor was entrapped for a few minutes, but was able to be extricated without any emergency equipment.”

That driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

As the central Gulf Coast braces for Tropical Storm Barry, North Georgia is getting ready for a wet weekend of its own.

Most of the impacts from the storm, including more than a foot of rain and possible flooding, will fall to the west of the state. A cold front sitting across North Georgia will be the big weather-maker locally, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said. 


 

“This front is going to pull tropical moisture in part associated with Tropical Storm Barry and bring it this way,” he said. “That’s going to mean some waves of downpours at times as we head through your weekend — and that starts today.”


 

There are a few showers in the northeast Georgia mountains. Monahan said metro Atlanta’s chance of a pop-up shower or storms goes up to 40% Friday afternoon, which then goes up to 60% for the weekend.

“Now, does that mean it’s a washout? Great news is it does not,” Monahan said. “It is not going to be a washout for us this weekend, but more often than not, we'll be tracking the downpours, and some of that rain will be heavy.”


 

In between the downpours, Monahan said Friday will be hot and humid with highs in the low 90s. Temperatures will get a little cooler for the weekend, with highs forecast in the upper 80s on Saturday and Sunday.

While it is not expected to rain all weekend, Monahan said areas along the I-75 corridor in northwest Georgia could get up to 4 inches by Sunday evening. Most of North Georgia should see less accumulation, he said. 


 

That’s nothing compared to what’s headed for the Arkansas coast and the lower Mississippi River Valley. Barry is churning slowly through the Gulf of Mexico with sustained winds of 65 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is expected to make landfall as a minimal hurricane Saturday morning. 

“It is moving toward the Louisiana coast with just a ton of rain,” Monahan said. 

He said several conditions are coming together to make this a dangerous storm. With Barry, it won’t be the strength of the wind but the amount of rain, Monahan said. 


 

“Remember we had all that flooding from the snow melting in the spring?” he said. “Well, that water went down the Missouri River, and that hit the Mississippi River. That was several months ago. Just a couple of months ago, in May and June, along the Arkansas River we saw historic flooding.”


 

All of that water has flown into the Mississippi and is piling southward toward the Delta, he said. Barry will hit the region when water levels are already near flood stage, bringing 10 to 20 inches or more of rain.

“This is going to be a very wet storm, and we could have some historic flooding in spots across the Mississippi River Valley,” Monahan said.


 

As for North Georgia, he said the heaviest downpours are expected Saturday afternoon. Beyond the weekend, rain chances come back down and temperatures stay a bit cooler in the upper 80s for the start of next week, according to the latest forecast.

» 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. 

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

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