Emergency management officials are hoping for the best but bracing for the worst with severe weather expected to move through Middle Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The National Weather Service is predicting strong storm systems to bring widespread rain and scattered thunderstorms -- including the possibility of damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and heavy rain.
“We’re gearing up for it just in case,” Macon-Bibb Emergency Management Agency Director Don Druitt said Monday afternoon.
He and other EMA directors across the state joined the National Weather Service for storm briefings both in the morning and afternoon.
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Houston County EMA Director Jimmy Williams said the region should escape a bad hit if the predicted 3 inches of rain falls steadily over the next couple of days, which would preclude flash flooding, and if strong winds stay above the jet stream.
The greatest risk for the worst weather is expected Tuesday afternoon and evening south of a warm front, while Wednesday may bring severe weather ahead of a cold front moving through parts of the state.
The clashing of warm and cold fronts is what is keeping emergency officials on their toes because those conditions have the potential to produce the severest of weather, Druitt said.
After the 3:30 p.m. conference call Monday among National Weather Service and EMA officials, Druitt said the Macon-Bibb Emergency Operations Center will be activated at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. It is expected to remain active through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday.
“We’ll all be here monitoring it,” Druitt said.
Druitt advised those traveling on either day to leave early. Motorists who encounter severe weather while driving are encouraged to get off the roadway and wait it out, he said.
Roadways may be slick, driving visibility reduced and water ponding is possible in low lying areas.
Williams is watching storm-threat windows of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday, which are subject to change.
Middle Georgia residents are advised to keep abreast of weather conditions as the storm systems move through.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.