How will Hurricane Nate affect metro Atlanta commuters, air travelers?

Monday’s commuters in metro Atlanta should be prepared for some travel problems caused by Hurricane Nate, and some airline passengers might have to do some juggling.

Northwest Georgia residents are expected to feel the most impact from the storm as it makes its way from the Gulf Coast into Florida and Alabama and then up into Georgia on Sunday. The worst weather for that area of Georgia is likely from about 2 to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Although the storm will have “little to no direct weather impact Monday morning,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said, the lingering effects of the rain and wind will be felt across the region.

The chief fallout from Nate would be things like downed trees and power lines, “especially in northwest Georgia,” Monahan said. For the conditions on area roads, cleanup times will be a key factor.

He said what remains of the storm by Monday morning will be well to the northeast of the metro area.

One factor in commuters’ favor: Monday is Columbus Day, which means government offices will be closed and therefore will thin out some traffic.

“Even without wind and the other sure threats, heavy rain simply makes for awful delays and the commute is far less safe,” said Doug Turnbull, traffic reporter with News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB.

“In the storm’s aftermath, be careful heading back out on the roads. Downed wires and trees make driving a real hassle and the heavy wind is sure to knock out plenty of lights. Try to stay informed about conditions where you’re going, so you can make the best choice.”

Saturday afternoon, Delta Air Lines announced that it has “proactively” canceled some flights as the hurricane got closer and extended a severe weather waiver.

Southwest Airlines, which flies out of Atlanta, also issued a statement about possible travel disruptions.

It said flights may be delayed, diverted and/or canceled to the following cities during a four-day period ending Monday: New Orleans; Panama City, Fla.; and Pensacola.

People with reservations to these cities on these dates should contact the airline for rebooking possibilities.