Please be prepared for today’s severe weather. We are taking this threat very seriously and currently have closed all county business offices today to ensure our employees remain home and safe. Essential services and personnel are on duty and will be available to respond to any storm related matters that might occur.
Severe threat remains at moderate risk for most of the area. “Moderate” in weather terminology is the second highest risk factor so don’t let the word mislead you. The main impact will be from the development of tornadoes but also impacts from hail as large as tennis balls and damaging winds in excess of 60 to 70 mph.
The biggest unknown is the placement of the initial wave of severe weather, although models may be honing in on the Atlanta metro and points northward. There is some threat for flash flooding as well as some area will receive multiple rounds.
This post will show the weather experts’ best estimate at timing and how this will evolve but first just another attempt to place today into context. Weather models are indicating the threat for strong tornadoes over the area. Anything over a 1 is conducive for tornado formation. In these weather briefings we are seeing 6 to 7. This is not as high as what we saw in April of 2011 but these are values we only see around here every few years. That system produced an EF4 tornado that did considerable damage in Lamar and Monroe County, diminishing into an EF3 tornado that struck just south of Flovilla and left a half mile wide damage path. So in this respect, this is a rare event with rare and potentially significant impacts.
Best Case Scenario: We get enough activity that atmosphere is disrupted enough to “only” allow for numerous severe storms with hail and wind and isolated EF2 or less tornadoes.
Worst Case Scenario: There are enough breaks in the activity to allow for more numerous tornadoes which are stronger and longer tracked.
With such rare events…we often see rare developments not completely expected with placement of storms and timing. These are best estimates.
6AM…Just developing across portions of Central GA
8AM…Quickly transitions and strengthens across southern ATL metro. Could just as easily be displaced 25 miles north or south at this point.
11AM…Transitions to affect all of Atlanta metro and points northward. Large hail and tornadoes the primary threats.
Noon…Cold front begins to exert its influence as activity begins to build back into Central GA. Tornado threat increasing I20 and southward.
2PM…transitioning to all Central GA with maximized tornado threat both in intensity and track length.
5 PM…Activity begins to move out of Central GA but still a Tornado threat along I16. Third wave moving into North GA. Still uncertainty as to strength but at least isolated severe storms a good bet.
We will be sending out weather updates on Twitter at our handle @ButtsCountyGa as needed through the day. Twitter is more reliable than Facebook because it posts in real time and not whenever Facebook decides you should see it, which could be days after. You can also set up audible alerts on your phone to get tweets when they post. Everyone be safe on Wednesday.