Tropical Storm Fay has a mind of her own, and where she’ll go next is anyone’s guess, said Mike Griesinger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
The storm, which likely won’t make its way up to Georgia for about a week, has been eagerly anticipated across the region as a source of needed rain.
"There’s still hope that North Georgia could see some beneficial rains," Griesinger said. "If it takes a good path, you can’t rule out several inches of rain."
For Gainesville, a good path would be coming over West Georgia and then over the mountains, Griesinger said.
The problem, he said, is that Fay will "wobble around Florida" until another weather front can carry the storm north.
"There’s nothing out there to steer it," Griesinger said.
Earlier Tuesday, it seemed Fay would bring nothing but rain to the Southeast. But late in the day, a hurricane watch was posted for parts of north Florida and Georgia.
Griesinger said because it likely would be Tuesday before any rain from Fay hits North Georgia, it is difficult for meteorologists to predict how much rain the storm could bring.
"An upper level ridge is trying to build overhead, which has cut it off from any steering currents, so it’s up to its own will as to where it’s going to go, which is why there’s so much disparity and lack of confidence in the forecast as you get out past 48 hours," Griesinger said.
Griesinger said Tuesday likely will be the day Georgia sees rain from Fay, after a cold front comes down from the north.
And though some rain is likely, only time will tell how much.
"It could be little to nothing to several inches," Griesinger said. "It’s all dependent on where the final path ends up."
Last week, Gainesville received 0.66 inches of precipitation, and during the past 30 days, it received 1.51 inches, according to the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network and the office of the state climatologist at the University of Georgia.