The National Weather Service is warning area motorists to beware of flooded roads as rain continues to swell Chattahoochee Valley creeks and ditches, with even more severe storms and possible tornadoes coming tonight.
The service has issued a flood warning for the counties of Chattahoochee and Marion, south and east of Columbus, reporting that radar indicates up to 2 inches of rain have fallen and more is coming.
"The area of greatest concern is in eastern Chattahoochee and western Marion counties, generally between Cusseta and Five Points," the service says. It warns motorists and pedestrians not to try crossing water of unknown depth.
Its forecast predicts showers and thunderstorms will keep moving over north and central Georgia at about 20 mph, with half-inch hail possible.
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Strong thunderstorms, possibly spawning tornadoes or producing other damaging winds, are expected to continue tonight with heavy rains and dangerous lightning.
"Wind shear will also increase rapidly late this afternoon and into the nighttime hours.... The greatest threat will be west of a line from Carrollton to Warner Robins to Vidalia. The main threat will be damaging winds and isolated tornadoes, although large hail will also be possible," the Weather Service warns.
The online weather site AccuWeather.com has sent out a warning that sounds even more dire, reporting: "The severity of the thunderstorms will increase as this afternoon progresses and the atmosphere warms. Numerous tornadoes are expected to touch down late this afternoon over the lower Mississippi, Tennessee and the Ohio Valleys. The tornado outbreak will expand to northern Florida, Georgia and toward the western Carolinas this evening. Those in southern Alabama, Georgia and northern Florida are being warned that severe thunderstorms with heavy rain will continue to erupt prior to the main line of storms. The strongest thunderstorms will produce damaging winds, hail, flooding downpours and a few tornadoes. The tornado outbreak poses a serious danger to anyone living or visiting the South or the Ohio Valley through tonight. Some of the tornadoes could be extremely powerful and long-lived. Just one of these twisters could produce miles of destruction and totally wipe out communities and small towns."