Storm brings rain, hail to midstate

A statewide band of thunderstorms that crawled across Georgia this morning lost some of its oomph as it dipped into the midstate.

After forming overnight over Alabama, the system advanced south and east through Georgia, knocking out power and blowing down trees in parts of Middle Georgia and metro Atlanta.

The storm knocked out power to 4,000 Flint Energies customers this morning, according to a news release from the electric cooperative.

The first reports of outages came in at 9:40 a.m., the release stated. Affected areas included Buena Vista, Butler, Culloden, Roberta, Fort Valley, Marshallville, Byron, Perry, Hawkinsville and Warner Robins. The largest number of outages occurred in Byron and Fort Valley, the release stated, due to loss of transmission at a power station.

By 3 p.m., Flint reported power had been restored to all but about 50 customers in rural parts of its service area. The utility was continuing to work to restore electric service to all customers, the company said, but warned that strong winds predicted by the weather services may cause further sporadic problems through the evening.

There were reports of trees toppled in Columbus, said forecaster Sean Ryan of the National Weather Service's Peachtree City office.

"One line moved through the Atlanta area between 5 and 7 a.m., but that kind of weakened and a second line formed on the tail end of the first one. That was the one that moved through central Georgia," Ryan said.

But by the time the storms hit the Macon area the only severe-weather reports were of penny-size hail, which pelted parts of Bibb, Crawford and Jones counties.

Including today's rainfall of .88 inches, Macon's total rainfall reached 5.77 inches this month. That's well above the average of 4.04 that is normal for February and significantly better than the 2.19 inches of rain during the same time last year.

Today's rain helped push Macon to above-average levels so far this year, as well. Macon has had 9.57 inches of rain since Jan. 1 — much better than last year's total of 6.62 inches covering the first two months of 2007. The city usually receives an average of 9.21 inches for the first two months of the year, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Middle Georgia is under a wind advisory for the rest of the day. Winds of 15-25 mph are expected as a cold front moves through, with possible gusts up to 40 mph. This cold front will send low temperatures into the mid 30s later tonight and Wednesday morning. Wednesday's forecast high is in the low-to-middle 50s.