[6:30 p.m.]: The severe thunderstorm warning for Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Fulton and Paulding counties has expired.
UPDATE [5:55 p.m.]: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Fulton and Paulding counties until 6:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
ORIGINAL STORY: A few spotty storms are popping up across North Georgia, but Atlanta doesn’t feel much cooler.
The city’s heat index hit 100 degrees earlier in the afternoon, but it feels a few degrees cooler at 5:30 p.m., according to Channel 2 Action News. The rain is expected to move closer to Atlanta this evening, but the storms are concentrated in Bartow, Cherokee and Floyd counties at the moment.
Meanwhile, traffic is also having issues, especially downtown and on the Northside, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
All southbound Ga. 400 lanes were briefly blocked at Northridge Road to clear a crash, and delays are increasing quickly, the Traffic Center reported.
In Gwinnett County, drivers are enduring lengthy delays after a crash was cleared on I-85 North at Ga. 317, the Traffic Center reported.
The Northern Perimeter is also slow, but that’s mostly due to an increase in volume during the evening commute.
Tuesday was the hottest day in Atlanta in three years, but Wednesday didn’t break any records.
Since 2000, Atlanta has only seen 17 days top 100 degrees, and 10 of those were during one particularly hot August in 2007, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.
“Is it still going to be hot? Sure it is,” Monahan said. “It’s just not going to be nearly as hot as it’s been the past couple of days.”
The storms that moved through North Georgia overnight brought lightning strikes and downed trees.
Lightning was to blame for a fire in Stone Mountain Park, park police and fire Chief Chuck Kelley said. A yurt on the park’s campground was struck and caught fire, completely destroying the canvas cover and the interior. No one was inside at the time, Channel 2 reported.
The lightning bolt hit a tall tree nearby and worked its way down to the yurt, Kelley told the news station. It was the first incident of its kind since yurts were added to Stone Mountain Park three years ago.
One downed tree created tough delays through DeKalb County for much of the morning drive.
Authorities blocked off the northbound lanes of Moreland Avenue near United Avenue for several hours to clean up the debris. All lanes were reopened by 8:15 a.m., the Traffic Center reported.
A cold front is moving slowly through the state Wednesday, and as it clears metro Atlanta, another round of showers and storms are forecast to develop behind it.
“Those go away tonight as this cold front slides to the south,” he said. “We're going to dry out for tomorrow. It’s going to be a mostly sunny Thursday afternoon for you as temperatures get back into the low to mid-90s tomorrow, and humidity will be a little bit lower for us.”
North Georgia will not have to worry about extreme heat Wednesday, but areas on the Southside are still under a heat advisory. The advisory went into effect at noon and and is scheduled to expire at 8 p.m.
In fact, Monahan said the middle of August is typically the turning point for summertime heat. The average high is 88 degrees for the first time Wednesday, down from 89.
“Today is the first day in the summertime that the average temperature actually drops as we start to make that way toward the start of fall,” Monahan said. “We're going to be above it the next several days.”
Daily highs are forecast in the low to mid-90s through the weekend, according to Channel 2. Monahan said there’s also lots of sunshine on tap once rain chances drop below 10% on Thursday.
» 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.
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