North Georgia is waking up to heavy rain, severe thunderstorms and lots of traffic problems Friday morning.
Multiple counties have been under tornado warnings, and Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said the atmosphere is right at any time for a brief, isolated tornado anywhere across North Georgia as a system of strong storms moves through the state.
There have been no reports of any confirmed tornadoes, but damage has been reported across metro Atlanta.
“A very active morning, and it’s going to stay this way over the next several hours,” he said.
The worst of the storms has moved out of metro Atlanta, but Monahan said heavy rain, strong winds and lightning will continue and have the potential to cause major traffic headaches through the peak of the morning rush.
UPDATE [10:38 a.m.]: As heavy rain winds down in metro Atlanta, the severe weather risk is shifting east.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Elbert and Hart counties in east Georgia. Damaging wind and heavy rain is still possible through the afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News.
The watch is set to expire at 5 p.m.
UPDATE [9:15 a.m.]: Newton and Rockdale counties are in the clear, but a severe thunderstorm warning has been extended for several counties west of Athens.
Walton, Barrow, Jackson, Clarke, and Oconee counties are currently under the warning, which is set to expire at 9:45 a.m. Quarter-sized hail is possible, according to the National Weather Service.
UPDATE [8:45 a.m.]: Another wave of severe weather is moving across the Eastside.
A new severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Rockdale, Newton, Walton, Oconee and Morgan counties until 9:15 a.m. Just after 8:30 a.m., the National Weather Service located a severe thunderstorm near Covington that was moving northeast.
Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said 60 mph wind gusts are possible. Damage to roofs, siding and trees is expected.
UPDATE [8:30 a.m.]: A downed power pole is causing a big traffic jam at a major Midtown intersection.
The pole came down on 14th Street between Spring Street and West Peachtree Street, blocking one lane of traffic and causing delays. Georgia Power is now on scene working to clear the pole and make repairs.
Southwest of the city, all the rain Friday morning has washed away part of Wright Road in Troup County. A large portion of the road has collapsed.
And in northeast Georgia, the Banks County School District has canceled classes because of weather conditions.UPDATE [8:15 a.m.]: Heavy rain is washing away part of a major Gwinnett County roadway.
According to an alert from the Snellville Police Department, a right turn lane on northbound Scenic Highway at Henry Clower Boulevard is blocked due to the wet weather. The Georgia Department of Transportation has been notified, police said.
In northern Gwinnett, a tree fell on an apartment building during the storms. Limbs from a large pine tree broke through one apartment at the Columns at Peachtree Corners complex on Concepts 21 Drive. While the apartment was occupied at the time, no one was seriously injured, according to Gwinnett fire officials.
Part of the tree fell in the parking lot.
North Georgia is no longer under any active tornado warnings. A warning for three counties north of Athens expired at 8:15 a.m., but severe thunderstorm warnings continue for the eastern part of the state.
UPDATE [7:57 a.m.]: A fourth tornado warning has been issued for North Georgia on Friday morning.
The warning includes Madison, Banks and Jackson counties north of Athens. Areas around downtown Athens and the University of Georgia are in the clear, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.
“This is embedded in a much larger area of strong and potentially severe thunderstorms,” Nitz said.
The latest tornado warning is in effect until 8:15 a.m. All previous tornado warnings for North Georgia have expired.
UPDATE [7:54 a.m.]: Metro Atlanta is surveying storm damage as the sun comes up Friday morning.
In north Fulton County, a tree came down on a house in the 200 block of Leaf Court in the Johns Creek area, according to authorities. And authorities are still asking drivers to avoid old Alabama Road between Buice Road and Medlock Road after power lines came down. All lanes remain blocked, the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
UPDATE [7:45 a.m.]: More than 20,000 Georgia Power customers are without power in North Georgia after system of strong to severe thunderstorms moved through Friday morning.
To learn more about power outages in your neighborhood, check out Georgia Power’s outage map.
The storm system continues to push to the east.
A tornado warning for five counties west of Athens expired at 7:45 a.m., and a severe thunderstorm warning continues for Banks, Jackson and Madison counties until 8:15 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
UPDATE [7:23 a.m.]: A tornado warning has been issued for five counties to the east of metro Atlanta.
Oconee, Barrow, Clarke, Walton and Jackson are under a tornado warning until 7:45 a.m. A storm capable of producing a tornado was moving out of the Monroe area in Walton County at 7:25 a.m., Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.
The storm is expected to stay to the north and west of downtown Athens and the University of Georgia.
“Stay weather aware around UGA this morning,” Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. “The campus, however, is not in the path of this warning.”
It is the third tornado warning issued for North Georgia on Friday morning. The two previous warnings have expired.
UPDATE [7:10 a.m.]: The southbound lanes of I-75 are reopening in Clayton County after a jackknifed tractor-trailer was moved to the right shoulder at the I-675 interchange, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
Traffic is starting to recover, but drivers can still take Tara Boulevard or Ga. 42 to avoid the delays.
There are also delays on the northbound Downtown Connector after all lanes were temporarily blocked to clear a crash, the Traffic Center reported.
And all eastbound lanes of I-20 remain shut down at Martha Berry Road in Carroll County. The Traffic Center suggests drivers continue to use U.S. 78.
UPDATE [7 a.m.]: The severe weather threat is winding down for metro Atlanta, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.
Widespread rain continues across North Georgia, with heavier downpours to the east of metro Atlanta and through the northeast Georgia mountains. A severe thunderstorm warning continues for Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties until 7:45 a.m.
The storms are expected to begin clearing out around 10 a.m. as the system continues its push to the northeast.
“By the time we hit the afternoon, showers will be more scattered,” Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. “A cold front is going to come through. Yes, we could have the potential for some thunderstorms, but at least we won’t be dealing with as many locations impacted.”
UPDATE [6:39 a.m.]: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for three metro Atlanta counties.
The warning is in effect for Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties until 7 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
A severe thunderstorm was located in McDonough at 6:36 a.m. and moving northeast at 40 mph. There is a chance for 40 to 60 mph wind gusts, according to Channel 2.
Damage to roofs, siding and trees is expected, the Weather Service said in an alert.
“I think our focus is really going to be on the Southside now,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.
UPDATE [6:35 a.m.]: Reports of storm-related damage continue to come in, Channel 2 Action News reported.
In north Fulton County, there are reports of power lines and trees down on Old Alabama Road at Buice Road in Johns Creek and on Shallowford Road between Shagbark Trail and Jones Road in the city of Roswell.
Drivers are asked to avoid the areas.
UPDATE [6:30 a.m.]: A tornado warning has expired for Habersham and Rabun counties.
A severe thunderstorm warning will continue for the northeast Georgia mountains as the storm continues pushing toward North Carolina, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.
UPDATE [6:25 a.m.]: All lanes of I-75 South are shut down in Clayton County with a crash, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
All southbound lanes are blocked at the I-675 interchange leaving Stockbridge, where Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said it has been “absolutely pouring.” The crash is also impacting traffic on I-675.
Tara Boulevard or Ga. 42 are the best alternates, the Traffic Center reported.
UPDATE [6:18 a.m.]: The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for metro Atlanta.
Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly.
UPDATE [6 a.m.]: Hall and White counties are no longer at risk as a storm capable of producing tornadoes continues to the northeast Friday morning.
A tornado warning for Hall and White expired just before 6 a.m. A warning continues for Rabun and Habersham counties until 6:30 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
UPDATE [5:50 a.m.]: A tornado warning has been issued for multiple counties north of metro Atlanta Friday morning.
Hall, White, Rabun and Habersham counties are under the warning until 6:30 a.m. A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located about 8 miles north of Gainesville at 5:50 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Storms continue across North Georgia and metro Atlanta.
“Keep in mind these storms are not only capable of producing heavy rainfall, gusty winds, but also an isolated brief, tornado cannot be ruled out anywhere across North Georgia,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Katie Walls said.
UPDATE [5:26 a.m.]: A tornado warning has expired for three metro Atlanta counties, according to Channel 2 Action News.
The National Weather Service allowed a warning for Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Fulton counties to expire a few minutes before 5:30 a.m.
“The storm which prompted the warning has weakened below severe limits, and has exited the warned area,” the Weather Service said in an alert. “Therefore, the warning will be allowed to expire.”
Heavy rain continues across metro Atlanta as a wide band of strong storms moves through the state.
“We are still going to have some active weather for the next couple of hours for sure through the heart of your morning commute,” Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.
UPDATE [5:18 a.m.]: Fulton County is in the clear as a storm capable of producing a tornado moves across the Chattahoochee River into northeast Gwinnett County, Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said.
Fulton County has been dropped from a tornado warning, according to the National Weather Service. The warning continues for Gwinnett and Forsyth counties.
ORIGINAL STORY: The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for three metro Atlanta counties as a line of strong thunderstorms moves into the area Friday morning.
The warning is in effect for Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Fulton Counties until 5:30 a.m.
A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located about 15 miles west of Lawrenceville at 5 a.m. and moving northeast at 30 mph.
“If you are under this tornado warning, you need to seek shelter immediately,” Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said. “You want to make sure to put as many interior walls between you and the outside as possible.”
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