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Flash flood watch issued; more rain moving in

Remnants of Tropical Storm Fay bring much needed rain to region

POSTED: August 29, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Some much needed rain fell throughout the day, and the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay could bring much more in the next few days.

Since Sunday night at 8 p.m., Lake Lanier rose a little more than two inches, according to the National Weather Service.

With remnants of Tropical Storm Fay soaking the Southeast, Gainesville has received 2.76 inches of rain at Gilmer Memorial Airport since Saturday, when measurable amounts of rain associated with the storm were first recorded in the area, according to the National Weather Service.

At 8 p.m. Sunday, water levels at the Buford Dam on Lake Lanier stood at 1,053.24 feet. As of 4:15 p.m. today, levels rose 0.17 feet to 1,053.41 feet.

Between 3:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., the National Weather Service reported nearly one inches of rainfall at the airport.

Sean Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said no tornado touchdowns in Georgia have been confirmed. While none have been confirmed by meteorologists, he said there has been a report of a funnel cloud sighting and a tornado touchdown, both in Upson County south of Atlanta.

Up to 5 inches of rain are possible by midday Tuesday, the weather service predicted.

Rob Handel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Association, said rains will be continuous, heavy at times, through tonight and tomorrow.

Handel said tornadoes spawned by the tropical storm are likely to stay west of Northeast Georgia in the Rome and Columbus area.

A flash flood watch will be in effect for portions of Northeast Georgia, including Hall County, from 4 p.m. today through Tuesday evening, the weather service said. A flash flood watch means that conditions are favorable for heavy rain across the watch area, which may lead to rapid rises especially of smaller streams and creeks.

A flash flood warning has been issued for several Northeast Georgia counties including Habersham, where nearly eight inches of rain has fallen since yesterday. Turnerville Circle and Ga. 115 are flooded due to a creek rising over its banks.

Fay has turned to the northeast and is expected to be in Central Alabama this evening before tracking into southeast Tennessee by Wednesday.

This will put Northeast Georgia in the very wet right quadrant of the storm, the weather service said. Outer feeder bands of showers and thunderstorms rolled through the area Sunday.

The rain could be good news for some, including farmers looking for a break from a long-term drought that stretches from parts of Louisiana through the Carolinas into Virginia.

“We need something like this to recharge the soil. It probably won’t be a total drought-buster,” said National Weather Service senior forecaster Andy Kula in Huntsville, Ala.

Rain was also reaching western North Carolina’s parched mountains. Meteorologist Doug Outlaw at the National Weather Service in Greer, S.C., said some areas of extreme southwestern North Carolina had gotten as much as an inch of rain as remnants of Fay moved in from Northeast Georgia, where as much as 3 to 4 inches had fallen.

In Florida, drenched by Fay last week, floods forced residents in northern parts of the state out of homes Sunday. Some residents started cleaning up Monday as water slowly receded in places, while others saw swollen rivers continue to rise.

In Georgia, Fay’s winds knocked an oak tree onto the Plains home of former President Jimmy Carter late on Saturday, a family member said. One of the former president’s sons, Jeff Carter, said both his father and his mother, Rosalynn Carter, were at home at the time but neither was hurt.

Fay made landfall a record four times in Florida before it was downgraded to a tropical depression late Saturday. The storm caused widespread flooding as it zigzagged across Florida for nearly a week.
Fay has been blamed for 13 deaths in the U.S., 11 in Florida and one each in Alabama and Georgia. A total of 23 died in Haiti and the Dominican Republic from flooding.

President Bush declared four hard-hit Florida counties disaster areas. The declaration makes funds available for emergency work and repairs to governments in Brevard, Monroe, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. More could be added later.

As Fay ebbs, a new storm is brewing. The seventh tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season formed in the central Caribbean and is heading for the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.



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