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Georgia likely wont feel effects from Hurricane Ike
0907Tropical Weather Ike
Plywood on a boarded up hotel reads "Stay Awake Ike" in Key West, Fla. as preparations are under away for Hurricane Ike on Saturday. There is an evacuation order in effect for non-residents. - photo by Lynne Sladky

As Hurricane Ike churns its way toward the Gulf of Mexico, there seems to be little chance that Northeast Georgia has anything to worry about.

It's unlikely Georgia will be affected because currently Ike is expected to make landfall somewhere between Brownsville, Texas, and New Orleans, said Mike Leary, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

It's too early to tell if Ike will follow a path similar to that of Gustav, Leary said, because the storm is far from the Gulf.

Georgia also missed out on rain and wind from Tropical Storm Hanna over the weekend because it was too far away and too weak by the time it made landfall on the North Carolina coast, Leary said.

Northeast Georgia received several inches of rain, and Hall County was struck by three tornadoes, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay went through the area two weeks ago.

There is a decent chance during the next week that Hall County could get rain of the nontropical variety, Leary said. The National Weather Service forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of rain Tuesday and a 30-40 percent chance of rain Wednesday through Saturday.

Ike grew to fierce Category 4 strength Saturday with 135-mph winds as it roared through the Caribbean toward Cuba and possibly Florida, Louisiana and Mexico.

Preparations stretched more than 1,000 miles as the massive, 135-mph storm took a southwesterly shift that could send it over Cuba and the Florida Keys by Tuesday before heading into the warm open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And once again, a possible target was New Orleans and the already storm-weary U.S. Gulf Coast.

At the storm's current course, it would hit northeastern Cuba by tonight or early Monday.