Heavy rain triggers accidents, system prompts Tornado Watch

Heavy rain triggers accidents, system prompts tornado watches

lfabian@macon.comApril 7, 2014 

Weather

Richard Hammonds, of Columbus, walks down Second Street in Macon during a storm Monday afternoon. “God is good. Thank God for the rain,” said Hammonds.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

A potentially volatile storm system thundered through Middle Georgia with heavy rain Monday that led to multiple accidents.

The National Weather Service warned of the threat of flash flooding through early Tuesday with expected rainfall of up to 3 inches in some locations.

Thunder rumbled over downtown Macon Monday morning before tornado watches were issued for several midstate counties until late in the afternoon.

A strong line of showers and thunderstorms tracked east with 40 mph wind gusts, taking aim at Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Putnam and Crawford counties. The downpour led to “significant weather advisories” for heavy rain for most of Middle Georgia.

Hourly reports showed that Middle Georgia Regional Airport collected 1.7 inches of rain from about 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. About two-thirds of an inch of rain fell per hour from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

About 11:40 a.m., a vehicle flipped on its side on Interstate 75 South, just below Hardeman Avenue.

About 20 minutes later, Macon-Bibb firefighters responded to another accident on Interstate 475 South near the Eisenhower Parkway exit.

Other accidents on wet roads were reported earlier.

About 10:30 a.m., a car hit the guardrail on I-75 South past Hartley Bridge Road. No one was seriously hurt in another accident 10 minutes later near the Sgoda Road exit of Interstate 16 West near Twiggs County.

Scattered power outages caused electricity to flicker in some spots.

A tree fell on power lines in north Bibb County, triggering a power outage at the Howard High School and Middle School complex on Forsyth Road.

Electricity was off for about an hour, but generators kept some power flowing to the schools, Stephanie Hartley, spokeswoman for Bibb County schools.

Around 1 p.m., power went out briefly at Taylor Elementary, and another outage was reported at Northwoods Academy.

The Ocmulgee River spent most of Monday morning around 7.3 feet.

It quickly rose about 4 feet in the five hours between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., reaching 11.4 feet. In that same time frame, the river’s flow rate tripled.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning through Thursday night for the Ocmulgee River near Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs counties.

The Ocmulgee River was forecast to peak in Bibb at 19.1 feet on Wednesday, one foot above the minor flooding stage. Flooding will begin by Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service predicted.

The Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and the Charles Jones Gateway Park are forecast to flood.

The forecast for the rest of the week looks good. After a 20 percent chance of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the rest of the week should be sunny.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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