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Tropical Storm Fay might bring rain to Northeast Georgia

POSTED: August 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City said new models from the National Hurricane Center indicate the possibility of beneficial rains for Georgia this weekend from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay.

"When it (Fay) crosses Florida, it’s going to slow down either across Northern Florida or somewhere over the Atlantic, just off the coast," said Sean Ryan, a weather service meteorologist. "It could possibly stall briefly before making a turn to either the west or northwest. It will only be a depression by that time, so winds should not be a factor, but we could see some beneficial rains. If it slows down too much, there could be some flooding problems."

Ryan said the current projection from the hurricane center has the storm near the Thomaston area at 2 p.m. Saturday. He said the northeast side of the storm generally gets the most significant rainfall, which could include portions of the Northeast Georgia area.

"That will depend on how slow it is moving," he said. "The current projection has the storm moving from Dublin to Thomaston in 24 hours."

The two Georgia cities are approximately 90 miles apart.

He said in the path of the storm, rainfall amounts of five to 10 inches are possible depending on how the banding sets up, how strong the storm is and how fast it is moving.

He said it is still too early to project exactly how fast the storm will turn toward the west off the coast of Florida or Georgia.

At 11 p.m. Monday, Fay was about 60 miles south of Naples and moving north at about 9 mph. Sustained winds were about 60 mph with some higher gusts.

National Hurricane Center officials said the storm likely would hit Florida’s mainland sometime this morning. Forecasters said Fay probably would be at or near hurricane strength, which is winds of at least 74 mph. No damage or injuries were immediately reported in the Florida Keys, where a few bars and restaurants stubbornly remained open. Authorities said a possible tornado knocked down a tree on Big Coppitt Key, and there were scattered power outages as well as local street flooding.

Local officials planned to reopen Key West’s airport Wednesday.

Between 4 and 10 inches of rain is possible across mainland Florida, so flooding is a threat even far from where the center comes ashore, said Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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