Published Saturday, February 23, 2013
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Heavy rain early Friday and rains forecast for Friday night and today initially resulted in a flood watch being issued by the National Weather Service for all of central Georgia and portions of north Georgia.
The flood watch was cancelled for north Georgia and metro Atlanta, including Coweta County, Friday around 6 p.m.
As of 5:30 a.m. Saturday, .89 inches of rain had been recorded at The Newnan Times-Herald weather station in downtown Newnan since midnight. A total of 1.52 inches fell on Friday. Since the rain event began on Thursday, a total of 2.43 inches has been recorded in downtown Newnan.
There’s a 90 percent chance of rain today, mainly before 11 a.m. The forecast is for a high near 60 with winds 5 to 10 mph, with 15 mph gusts. The rain will leave tonight but it will still be cloudy with a low temperature around 36.
Sunday will be beautiful — though soggy — with sunny skies and a high of 66.
More rain will likely return Sunday night. There is a 50 percent chance of showers, with a low around 37.
Monday’s forecast is for a 60 percent chance of showers and a high near 60. There’s a 40 percent chance of showers Monday night, and a 20 percent chance of showers Tuesday.
The forecast is for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 56, on Wednesday.
There has been measurable rainfall for 11 days in February, according to the Newnan Times-Herald weather station.
Flash floods can be serious — especially for motorists. You should never drive across moving water — especially a flooded bridge. Rushing water can quickly carry away a vehicle. According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, more than half of flood victims were in vehicles swept away by moving water. GEMA advises motorists to never drive through standing water — Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
It only takes two feet of water to float a full-sized automobile, and high water can cause a vehicle to stall out. It can be hard to tell how deep flood waters are, and impossible to know if the road or bridge has washed out underneath those waters.
According to GEMA, if your car stalls in rapidly rising water, get out immediately and seek higher ground.
The Chattahoochee River at Whitesburg is not expected to reach flood stage, but it will get close. The river is forecast to crest at 14 feet Saturday evening. Flood stage is 15 feet.
So far this month, downtown Newnan has received 5.91 inches of rain (as of 5:30 a.m. Saturday).
The “average” rainfall for February for the Atlanta area is 4.67 inches, according to the National Weather Service. That is the 30-year average from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Averages for the Newnan area are no longer available from the weather service.
The 5.91 inches of February rain makes it the third straight month of above-average rainfall for the area.
But so far, the rainfall hasn’t been enough to take us out of drought status.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of Tuesday at 7 a.m., Coweta was still considered to be in “severe drought.” Other portions of the state, including Fayette, Clayton, Spalding, Henry, and Butts, are still considered to be in “extreme drought.”
According to the National Weather Service, considering the rainfall over the past six months, the area still has a rainfall deficit of 4.31 inches, or 18 percent. For the year, it’s 11.19 inches, or 23 percent. And for the past three years, the deficit is 25.99 inches, which is 17 percent.