After lifting a flood watch for parts of northeast Georgia including Athens-Clarke County briefly during the weekend, the National Weather Service has issued a new flood watch for this part of the state — a watch that is not set to expire until Thursday morning — as the forecast calls for as much as 5 inches of rain in the area over the next couple of days.
In addition to northeast Georgia, the latest flood watch covers parts of north central and northwest and west central Georgia. Area counties under the flood watch, in addition to Athens-Clarke County, include Oconee, Jackson and Madison counties.
According to the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Peachtree City, two separate waves of showers and thunderstorms are expected across this part of the state over the next couple of days. The NWS forecast called for the first wave to begin Monday afternoon and continue into Tuesday, with the second wave expected to move into the area late Tuesday night and continue through Wednesday night. Both waves are expected to bring 1 to 2 inches of rain, with totals from the second wave projected to be as much as 2.5 inches.
“Total rainfall in the watch area of 3 to 5 inches with isolated higher amounts are possible by Thursday morning,” notes a statement issued by the Peachtree City NWS forecast office in connection with the flood watch notifications.
“A flood watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts,” according to the National Weather Service statement. The weather service goes on to caution residents of the area within the flood watch to pay attention to weather forecasts during the next couple of days, and to be prepared to take action should conditions warrant in areas prone to flooding.
“Flooding from last week’s heavy rains continues along many creeks and rivers across north Georgia,” the Peachtree City forecasters go on to say. The additional rainfall projected for the area over the next couple of days “will likely prolong flooding in many of these areas, and likely cause new flooding.”
Also according to the weather service, temporary urban and street flooding could occur in areas that are poorly drained or in which storm drains have become clogged.
The National Weather Service’s Southeast River Forecast Center is projecting that the water level in the North Oconee River in Athens-Clarke County will rise dramatically, going from around 9 feet early Tuesday morning to almost 13 feet by early Wednesday morning — still well below the river’s 19-foot flood stage. The Middle Oconee River is also projected to rise in Athens-Clarke County between now and Wednesday, topping out at slightly more than 12 feet late Wednesday afternoon, below the river’s 18-foot flood stage.
In neighboring Madison County, the Broad River at the town of Carlton is projected to rise to almost 14 feet by Thursday afternoon, just below its 15-foot “minor flood stage.”
Elsewhere in the area, the Oconee River near the Greene County town of Penfield is projected to be at its “minor flood stage” of 13 feet by late Tuesday afternoon, rising to a maximum of just over 16 feet by Thursday afternoon, according to the river forecast center’s projection.
Weather-wise for Athens, the National Weather Service forecast was calling for an 80 percent chance of showers Monday night, with a 40 percent chance of showers on Tuesday, changing to a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms, with a 100 percent chance of heavy rain Tuesday night.
For Wednesday, the forecast projects an 80 percent chance of showers during the day, dropping to 60 percent for Wednesday night and then to just 20 percent for Thursday.
New Year’s Eve revelers who venture out Thursday night in Athens will do so under mostly cloudy skies, as the temperature drops to around 42 degrees. The National Weather Service calls for New Year’s Day to be mostly cloudy in Athens, with a high temperature of 53 degrees.
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