Update: The National Weather Service has canceled all tropical storm watches and warnings as Nate has now weakened to a tropical depression as it moves through northwestern Georgia. There remains a low threat of flooding and tornadoes for the next several hours as well as low end wind gusts, according to the Weather Service. A flash flood watch remains in effect until 8 a.m. Monday.
The hurricane made landfall on the Gulf Coast near Louisiana on Saturday evening as a Category 1 storm.
Meteorologist Sid King with the National Weather Service forecast office in Peachtree City said Saturday though the impact on Northeast Georgia is not expected to reach the same level as Irma, there is the threat for severe weather.
“We want to stress Nate is a large storm covering a large area where we could see tropical storm force conditions,” King said.
King said Gainesville can expect heavy rains Sunday, up to 3 inches or more in some areas, and sustained winds of 20 miles per hour gusting to 30-35. Those winds still could be enough to topple trees and branches and lead to power outages.
Thousands of customers lost power after Irma struck, some for several days as crews scrambled to deal with the damage.
“It doesn’t look like it will be as bad as it was for Irma,” King said, though he said Nate was more likely to spawn tornadoes as it moves through Georgia.
“There is the threat some tornadoes could spin up as the hurricane approaches, as there is a bit more instability in the area and more wind shear than during Irma,” he said.
Emergency management officials are monitoring the storm closely and will open the Emergency Operations Center on Sunday to provide updates as conditions warrant.
Report power outages
Georgia Power: georgiapower.com/storm, 1-888-891-0938.
Jackson EMC urges customers to prepare for the storm with these tips:
- Protect electronics and appliances. Turn off air conditioners since power surges can overload them, unplug all electronics such as DVD players, televisions and computers.
- Secure any outdoor items that could be moved by high winds and cause damage. Move patio furniture inside where possible.
- Charge all necessary electronics, including cell phones and tablets, so you can stay connected even if the power is out. Know how to adjust the settings on mobile devices to maximize battery life.
Utility providers are bracing for the impact the new storm may bring. Jackson EMC said in a news release Saturday it has activated its emergency response plan and has more than 250 crew members from six states ready to help its staff of 150 linemen.
Public schools are not likely to be affected in the short term by the storm, as most districts, including Gainesville and Hall County, are closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.