Atlanta braces for another dangerous flash flood threat late Friday into early Saturday

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ATLANTA – Millions of people in the Atlanta metro area in the Southeast are bracing for a potentially life-threatening situation as concerns continue to grow of a dangerous flash flood threat due to torrential rain and severe weather expected to impact the region starting Friday.

It’s been an active week in terms of severe weather across the South, with Atlanta already hit hard by thunderstorms that dropped several inches of rain, leading to reports of damage and water rescues from flooding.

While the severe thunderstorm and flood threat Thursday is centered across portions of the southern Plains, that threat will push to the east on Friday, putting cities such as Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama, as well as Atlanta and parts of Georgia, at risk.

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"I just think this week has been tiring for the Southeast," FOX Weather Meteorologist Jane Minar said. "We’ve had so much rain on Wednesday alone. We go through yesterday (Wednesday), and you had the reports of flooding, the nonstop rain. And then you get a nice day today, right? You get a nice break into the start of the day on Friday, and then suddenly you’re just slammed with heavy rain once again."

The FOX Forecast Center said the storms and rain will move in during the day on Friday, and a corridor of heavy precipitation will quickly become established as storms interact with a warm front that will be draped across the region.

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The strong, low-level winds will pump in prolific amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, which will allow the thunderstorms to produce torrential rain with rainfall rates in excess of 1 inch per hour.

The slow-moving to stationary front could allow for storms to repeatedly develop over the same areas, the FOX Forecast Center said.

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The storms will move along to the east, but it will be the constant backbuilding of new storms in the same areas that will cause a narrow area of extreme rainfall totals that could easily exceed 4 inches, with some areas possibly seeing up to 8 inches.

Be sure to download the free FOX Weather app and enable notifications before heading to bed Friday to be alerted to any severe weather warnings, including Flash Flood Warnings, that may be issued in your area while you’re asleep.

HOW HEAVY IS IT REALLY GOING TO RAIN?

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC) said there’s a risk of flash flooding across the Southeast starting Friday.

However, a Level 3 out of 4 risk of flash flooding has been highlighted along the Interstate 20 corridor from Birmingham to Atlanta, as well as the Interstate 85 corridor from Montgomery to Atlanta.

In addition, the Interstate 65 corridor from Birmingham through Clanton and Montgomery is also in the Level 3 risk of flash flooding.

Any travel, especially overnight, could be treacherous as heavy rain could lead to ponding on the roadway.

As always, if you're driving and you see water on the roadway – turn around, don't drown. 

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE REVAMPS FLOOD ALERTS

Flood alerts have already been posted across the Southeast, including much of central Alabama into North and Middle Georgia.

In addition to Montgomery and Birmingham, cities in Alabama under a Flood Watch include Gadsden, Eutaw and Troy.

Macon, LaGrange and Alpharetta are also included in the Flood Watch in Georgia, in addition to Atlanta.

ADVICE FOR DEALING WITH STORM ANXIETY WHEN SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS

It's not only flash flooding that's a concern in the Southeast.

Severe weather, too, could become dangerous as thunderstorms capable of producing large hail, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes are expected to sweep across the region.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed more than 19 million people from East Texas to the Deep South, including southern Alabama, in a Level 2 out of 5 risk on its 5-point severe thunderstorm risk scale.

"Don’t let your guard down on that threat if that warning is sounded," Minar continued. "Knowing how to get to your safe space as quickly as possible. Also, noting that there could be a real possibility with how high our flood risk is on Friday night into Saturday. As these storms come through, you might find yourself in a position where you have a Flood Warning and a Tornado Warning at the same time. Use common sense. What’s the immediate danger, the imminent threat, and making sure you’re taking the appropriate action."

STAY OR GO? TRUSTING YOUR GUT CAN BE LIFESAVING WHEN MULTIPLE WEATHER WARNINGS ARE ISSUED

The severe weather threat will continue to shift off to the east by Saturday and will reach the East Coast in the Southeast by that time.

The SPC has placed 16 million people from the Florida Panhandle along the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas in the mid-Atlantic in a Level 2 out of 5 risk.

This includes Macon, Savannah and Valdosta in Georgia.

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