On Thursday, emergency response authorities in Hall said the county had seen a relatively quiet morning as Tropical Storm Sally began to pass through the Atlanta area.
The county's emergency operations center recorded about 3 inches of rain so far, as of about noon, according to Casey Ramsey, director of the county’s emergency management agency. No flooding had been reported, and "only a few trees" had been reported down, he added.
Local electric providers reported Thursday morning that thousands had been without power at the peak of the storm, but many outages had been restored by around noon.
Jackson EMC reported that at a peak, 5,000 Hall County customers were without power. As of noon, that number had dropped to 120 customers.
As of about 12:30 p.m., Georgia Power reported 2,069 customers were without power in the Flowery Branch area and that crews were working to restore service. Georgia Power spokesman Chad Nation said the company had not yet tallied how many customers had been without power at the storm's peak.
1 PM CDT intermediate advisory: #Sally is causing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding over portions of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama. A significant flood threat will spread inland over portions of the southeastern U.S. through Fri. https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/HUdrfkS1IL— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 16, 2020
Hurricane Sally made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday, bringing 105 mph winds and a deluge of rain that flooded streets, damaged vehicles and trapped residents. But despite an expected track that takes what is now a tropical storm just south of Atlanta through Thursday evening and into Friday morning, forecasters said Hall County was expected only to receive heavier-than-usual rain.
Authorities told The Times Hall could expect 3 to 5 inches with some locally higher amounts through Thursday evening and possibly into Friday morning, but winds would remain between 10 and 20 mph even as the storm neared the county. National Weather Service meteorologist Ty Vaughn said wind gusts were expected to reach about 25-30 mph in Hall.
"As far as sustained damaging winds, that's not really something we're expecting at this time," he said.
Tweets from the National Hurricane Center place Hall County in an area of Georgia with a slight (10%) to moderate (20%) risk of flash flooding over through Friday.
Vaughn said his best advice for those who are concerned about flash flooding would be to avoid driving altogether or at least to avoid driving over flooded roadways.
Ramsey reiterated Vaughn's warnings for motorists, adding the popular public safety phrase, "Turn around, don't drown."
He said Wednesday he and other public safety agencies are monitoring the storm's progression through the South and, as always when heavier than normal rain is headed toward Hall, are ensuring culverts are clear and public safety is on standby. He also said the agency had collaborated with the school system to monitor bus routes that could be affected.
"We've been watching the forecast and collaborating on everybody's preparedness plans to make sure we address anything that we have concerns on," he said, adding that the rain is expected to reach Hall beginning Wednesday evening. "Right now, we're just going to continue to monitor the weather."
Ramsey said areas to look out for flooding, especially on roadways, include:
Shuler Road near Dawsonville Highway
Belton Bridge Road at Belton Bridge Park
Bryant Quarter Road at the North Oconee River
Trudy Drive and Lotts Ferry Road in Flowery Branch
Jim Hood Road in Gainesville
Highland Mobile Home Park in Gainesville
The Associated Press contributed to this report.