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Tropical Storm Andrea bringing heavy rain to area
Strong storms, flooding not expected in NE Ga., weather service says
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Rain is in the forecast for the rest of today and into Saturday as Tropical Storm Andrea makes its way up the East Coast.

The system made landfall near Tampa, Fla., around 5 p.m. Thursday.

Jill Rayner, who was driving back to North Georgia from a trip to Savannah on Thursday morning, said that there was already heavy rain in South Georgia.

“Over Monday through Wednesday, they’ve probably already had 4 inches of rain here,” she said. Rayner also reported some flooding in the area.

But while a flood watch is in effect for portions of south and middle Georgia, rising water levels are not expected to be a problem locally.

“The track of the storm takes it south of Hall County, but you will definitely see rainfall from the system,” said Alex Gibbs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Atlanta.

While this first tropical storm of the season led to confirmed tornadoes in Florida, Gibbs is not expecting severe weather in the area, nor does he believe the rain will create any flooding, at least in Hall County. He said that, for the ground to be oversaturated, it would currently require 3 inches of rain in a three-hour period.

“Right now, we’re looking at anywhere from 1 to 2 inches,” he said. “We’re not expecting necessarily massive thunderstorms, as much as rain and some thunder here and there.”

Jimmy Hightower, road maintenance supervisor for Hall County, said that everything should be business as usual involving the roads.

“We have really been looking at everything since the last flooding event,” he said, “But really, what’s coming up is just basically rain, nothing out of the normal.”

People around the town square Thursday afternoon didn’t seem to mind the prospect of soggy weather.

“It’s good. We need it,” said Virginia Blakely, adding that it’s so much greener outside with the consistent rainfall.

“The rain doesn’t bother me as long as it’s not cold,” Harold Smith said in agreement.

The NWS issued a hazardous weather outlook Thursday for Hall County among numerous other northern Georgia counties. The notice stated that “1 to 2 inches of rainfall along with isolated strong storms producing strong gusty winds and frequent lightning” are possible.

For today, meteorologists are also eyeing an upper level system moving across the state that could lead to additional heavy rainfall.

The weather forecast shows slight chances of rain throughout the weekend.

Andrea is the first officially named tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

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