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Rainy forecast, potential severe weather ahead

A slight risk of stormy weather is ahead, for the already saturated Southern Crescent, according to weather officials.

Some rain is expected to reach Georgia late Thursday, with the potential for thunderstorms, said Brian Lynn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Lynn said there is a small risk for severe weather after 1 p.m., heading into the evening, from a storm system moving in from the west. “Its effects will be felt in the second half of the day, Thursday,” said Lynn, adding that there could be minor river flooding in some areas of the state.

Henry County Emergency Management Director Don Ash urges area residents to be prepared in case the region does experience severe weather.

This would be the latest round of potentially severe weather, coming just days after tornadoes ripped though central Alabama, causing widespread damage and destruction. “The weather that affected them [Alabama], luckily, it dissipated before it got to us,” said Ash. “But with this, like all times, practice the things that we continue to preach. We want the citizens to be aware of potentially dangerous situations and prepare. The best thing to do is to have a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio.”

Mark Miller, a meteorologist for AccuWeather.com, reported, Wednesday, the potential for more severe weather to shift eastward from south-central Texas. Severe thunderstorms erupted and pushed across the upper Texas coast, northeastern Texas and through Louisiana, threatening flooding downpours, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

Miller noted several trees and power lines were toppled, a barn was damaged, as were the roof and structure of a home in the state.

“During the early morning, Austin, Texas received more than 5 inches of rain, with 2-3 feet of water over some area roads,” reported Miller. “High water rescues became necessary near Elgin and Cedar Creek, Texas, with severe flooding occurring.”

While most of the Southern Crescent is still in the grips of a drought, and very much needs the rain, too much rain, too quickly, can do more harm than good, according to Miller, who also acknowledged that the rain will go a long way in helping to reduce the severity of the drought in exceptionally dry locations.

Drought conditions have persisted over more than 85 percent of the state of Georgia, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s U.S. Drought Monitor Report from Jan. 17.

However, data from the National Weather Service indicates that this month’s rainfall may have lessened the effects of drought in some parts of Georgia.

Rainfall in Atlanta, for example, has accumulated to 1.75 inches above normal since Jan. 1, according to the National Weather Service. Total rainfall, over the past 30 days through Tuesday, was recorded at 6.17 inches at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, compared to the normal 3.84-inch rainfall amounts over that period in years past.

The area’s rain chances are expected to diminish Friday, heading into a mostly sunny weekend, according to National Weather Service forecasts.