[UPDATE [7:45 p.m.]: Arriving and departing flights at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were experiencing delays of less than 30 minutes after a ground stop was lifted because of Saturday’s storm. More than 113,000 Georgians were without power, utilities reported.
ORIGINAL STORY: Dozens of counties are under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch has been issued for most of North Georgia until 9 p.m.
The storm is moving east at speeds of more than 60 mph, Channel 2 Action News reported.
North Georgia residents should brace for damaging winds, heavy rain and the possibility of isolated tornadoes, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Eboni Deon said.
As of 5 p.m., Nearly 40,000 Georgia Power and Georgia EMC customers were without service and there are reports of downed trees and power lines in the northwest corner of the state.
At least seven people were killed as storms moved across the southern U.S. on Friday and Saturday, according to The Associated Press.
RELATED: Tornadoes destroy homes in South
“Things are going to deteriorate for the afternoon and evening,” Deon said. “We are going to be dealing with some heavy downpours and strong, gusty winds.”
The National Weather Service has most of metro Atlanta under a Level 2 threat of severe weather, while the state’s far western counties are under a Level 3 risk. That includes Floyd, Polk, Haralson, Carroll, Heard, Troup, Coweta and Meriwether counties.
“We generally do not see that Level 3 risk here ... a Level 3 risk is a pretty serious thing,” Channel 2 meteorologist Glenn Burns said. “It means heavy rain and damaging thunderstorm winds and isolated tornadoes are likely.”
Most of Georgia will remain under a wind advisory until 10 p.m., according to the Weather Service.
The storms should reach metro Atlanta sometime between 6 and 8 p.m., Deon said.
“Winds could gust up to 35 mph, so that could bring some tree limbs down,” she warned.
The threat of severe weather in the area is expected to diminish by about 10 p.m. and be mostly out of the state by 11, Burns said. Storms weaken as time passes, which is why west Georgia is at the greatest risk this afternoon.
Tune into Channel 2 and Severe Weather Team 2 throughout the day for the latest weather updates.
» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page .
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