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Rainy forecast ushers in flood watch for N. Georgia
Sunny skies to return on Friday
A car splashes through standing water Monday in the parking lot of the U.S. Post Office on Green Street in Gainesville during a rainy day. - photo by Tom Reed

The rain that settled over Northeast Georgia on Monday is likely to stick around for most of this week, and that has led to a flood watch.

“There’s a front approaching the Southeast,” said Nate Mayes, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. “It’s been over the Mississippi Valley for two or three days, and it will continue moving to the south and east.

“It’s been stalled for days.”

The weather service predicts an 80 percent chance of precipitation today, rising to 100 percent tonight. There’s a chance for a respite Wednesday, as the probability of rain dips to 60 percent during the day and 20 percent at night.

Thursday is expected to bring a 60 percent chance of rain, climbing to 70 percent that night.

That has led the weather service to issue a flood watch through Wednesday morning in North Georgia, mainly along and north of a line from Carrollton to Atlanta to Jefferson. The flood watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

The rainfall Monday, combined with efforts to repair pipe under the roadway, sent water streaming down Stoney Creek Drive in Flowery Branch.

Older, corrugated metal pipe under the road had failed because of rain in December, said Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley.

“The pipe failure was caused by a likely combination of the soil fill surrounding the pipe failing, the pipe structure itself failing, and the banded joints coming apart,” she said.

The type of pipe needed for the repair was out of stock, even in surrounding states, Crumley said, so the pipe is having to be custom made.

The concrete pipe needs a couple of weeks to “cure,” she said, before it can be installed.

In the meantime, the county “has temporarily stabilized the slopes, and provided downdrains to convey road water safely into the creek without further erosion of the banks,” Crumley said, as well as constructing a temporary one-lane detour.

The new pipe should be ready within the next two weeks, she said, and installation should take about three weeks, although that process is “highly weather dependent.”

North Georgia can expect another 2 to 3 inches of rain for a total of 3 to 4 inches by Wednesday morning. With soil already wet from recent rainfall, that will help produce runoff as rainfall accumulates through tonight, according to the weather service.

At 6:15 p.m., Lake Lanier was at 1,058.69 feet above sea level, up 0.16 of a foot, or nearly 2 inches, since 7 a.m. Sunday.

A high off the coast is “drifting a little north and south, then it will go stationary again and stay that way until something happens to change the pattern or the jet stream gets strong enough to push it off,” Mayes said.

The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies Friday. Temperatures will be cooler though, with a high of 49 and a low of 35.

“When the weekend comes, the jet stream will become strong enough to push the front out,” Mayes said.

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