WEATHER-TRAFFIC UPDATE: Roads congested for Memorial Day travel, evening commute

Caption
Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz reports.

ATLANTA FORECAST

Thursday: High: 82

Thursday night: Low: 69

Friday: High: 79

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

Metro roadways are congested as many people head to high school graduations, travel for Memorial Day weekend and endure tonight’s evening commute.

AAA said today between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. will be the worst time to travel ahead of Memorial Day.

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

A vehicle fire at I-285 and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard shut down multiple lanes earlier, and a lane or two remain blocked, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

In south Atlanta, a wreck on I-285 near Bouldercrest Road has blocked all lanes and congested traffic, according to the Traffic Center.

There were also accidents on I-285 at South Cobb Drive and I-285 at I-675, the Traffic Center reported. Major delays were associated with both.

A tractor-trailer crash on I-285 at South Atlanta Road is also causing delays, the Traffic Center reported.

On the Northside, a gas leak previously closed two left lanes on Peachtree Dunwoody Road at Abernathy Road. The lanes are now back open, but crews will be working on the side of the road for the next few hours, according to a Sandy Springs traffic tweet.

Work is ongoing to clean up a downed tree that took out a power pole and power lines on Peachtree Circle, according to Atlanta police. The road is closed between 15th Street and Lafayette Drive and power outages have been reported. Police said they are not sure when the road will reopen.

A tree took down wires and power poles near the High Museum on Peachtree Circle. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Caption
A tree took down wires and power poles near the High Museum on Peachtree Circle. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

And then there’s the weather to worry about.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said with a mid-level area of low pressure hovering over Middle Georgia, humidity and clouds should linger through the day.

“It is going to cause more showers to develop this afternoon,” Minton said. “While we may have a short period of time where it’s dry, it just begins to redevelop again. The heat of the day is going to help trigger that.”

 

The temperature in Atlanta is currently 85 degrees, which is three degrees above the predicted high for today.

A flash flood watch is in effect for dozens of North and Middle Georgia counties through 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 most metro Atlanta counties and expires at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said the rain is mostly contained south of Atlanta, and only a few scattered showers are expected in northeast Georgia until 11 p.m.

But a large area of tropical moisture and wind is slowly moving north toward the Gulf of Mexico and eventually Alabama and Mississippi, according to Channel 2 Chief meteorologist Glenn Burns.

Channel 2 said there’s now an 90 percent chance it will develop into a tropical storm within the next five days. It would be the first tropical storm of 2018 and would be named Alberto.

“Regardless of what it becomes, it’ll be a major rainmaker,” Burns said.

 

Over Memorial Day weekend, Burns predicts North Georgia will get 3 to 5 inches of rain. The chance of rain is 70 percent Saturday and Monday, with a slightly higher 80 percent chance Sunday.

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

Those traveling to the Florida panhandle, such as Panama City Beach, may need to find some indoor activities. Burns said that area will be drenched with a possible 10 inches of rain.

“Sorry about that, folks, but it’s the beginning of hurricane season,” Burns said.

 

The break in the rain this morning had a negative effect on the pollen count. The count increased from 10 particles per cubic meter of air Wednesday to 24 Thursday.

Grass and weed pollen remain low, but two types of tree pollen included in the count are in the moderate range.

 

» 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