At dawn Friday, nearly 20 hot air balloon pilots sat in the pilots lounge at the Helendorf River Inn waiting on the weather report in hopes of a crystal clear launch in the 37th annual Helen to the Atlantic race.
Staff Sgt. John DeLong was looking forward to his deployment next month to Afghanistan, the second tour of duty in a combat zone for the Gainesville native, when tragedy struck last week a few miles from his base at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Scattered thunderstorms are beginning to strike throughout the Northeast Georgia area and could hamper some commuters' drives home.
Storms are expected before 8 p.m. in the area, some capable of producing heavy rain and lightning, according to the National Weather Service. Though the storms are not considered severe, some could produce small hail and winds gusting to 40 mph.