Urgent Weather Update: Tornado Watch issued for Walton County as Hurricane Michael makes landfall

Update: 4:– p.m. Oct. 10, 2018

Click or tap on the image below to keep abreast of all watches or warnings issued by the national weather service for the local area. Walton County remains under a tornado and flood watch.

Update: 2:45 p.m. Oct. 10, 2018

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for several counties, including Walton County, until 2 a.m. tomorrow, Oct. 11, 2018. The surrounding counties included in the watch include Barrow, Morgan, Newton, Rockdale, Clarke and Oconee counties and the watch includes the cities of  Mount Vernon, Pine Mountain, Monroe, Covington, Watkinsville and Winder.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Update: 10:45 a.m. Oct. 10, 2018

Although Walton County currently remains just under a Flood Watch, Gov. Nathan Deal this morning added 15 more counties to the State of Emergency declaration in the wake of Hurricane Michael, now a Category 4 hurricane. These include Oconee and Morgan counties that border on Walton County as well as Clarke County. In his Executive Order, Deal noted that in the latest Emergency Declaration the path of the hurricane had shifted, bringing its path slightly further north. The governor also has activated 1,500 Georgia National Guard Troops in advance of the hurricane. Walton County has the Emergency Operations Center up and ready at Hammond Drive, according to Capt. Jack Armstrong of Monroe Fire Department. Staffing is on standby and watching the weather.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Update: 5:30 a.m. Oct. 10, 2018

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a Category 4 and is expected to continue to pick up steam before making landfall, according to the National Weather Service. Walton and Newton are included in the counties that have been put under a Flood Watch in advance of the storm. The Flood Watch goes into effect from 2 p.m. this afternoon through Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

“As the remnants of Hurricane Michael move across the southeast states, heaving rainfall will be possible across portions of central Georgia. Within the watch area, widespread rainfall amounts of 3 – 5 inches will be likely, with locally higher amounts possible,” the NWS noted in its advisory. “Several creeks and rivers could rise out of their banks, closing roads and impacting homes, businesses and farms. High water may not recede until well after the rain has ended.”

A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding, which can result in dangerous conditions. You need to monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Graphic credit: The National Weather Service

Update: 7:30 a.m. Oct. 9, 2018

In its hurricane update for the local area, the National Weather Service notes watches and warnings have been issued for some southern Georgia counties and alerts to the possibility of flooding rains in the local area. Hurricane Michael has now been upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane. While more recent models have it passing a little further south of the local area after it makes landfall on Wednesday, the remnants of Michael are expected to head northeast on Wednesday and early Thursday, moving across portions of central Georgia. Impacts from heavy rain and potential tornadoes may precede the most significant winds that come with this system.

The NWS noted, “during the height of the storm, winds of 25 to 40 mph will be possible with gusts as high as 60 mph across portions of central Georgia, with the strongest winds roughly south of Columbus and Macon. Widespread rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches are expected, with the potential for locally higher amounts of 6 to 7 inches, east and south of Columbus to Athens.”

The governor issued an executive order this morning putting several counties in Georgia under a State of Emergency. At this time, Gwinnett, Walton and surrounding counties are not listed in the counties under that state of emergency. However, the NWS did issue the following warning for all areas, including Walton, Gwinnett and surrounding counties that may be impacted by the rain.

Prepare for life-threatening rainfall flooding having possible
extensive impacts across portions of central and east Georgia from
Columbus to Athens and south.
Potential impacts include:

– Major rainfall flooding may prompt many evacuations and rescues.

– Rivers and tributaries may rapidly overflow their banks in
multiple places. Small streams, creeks, canals, arroyos, and
ditches may become dangerous rivers. In mountain areas,
destructive runoff may run quickly down valleys while
increasing susceptibility to rockslides and mudslides. Flood
control systems and barriers may become stressed.

– Flood waters can enter many structures within multiple
communities, some structures becoming uninhabitable or washed
away. Many places where flood waters may cover escape routes.
Streets and parking lots become rivers of moving water with
underpasses submerged. Driving conditions become dangerous.
Many road and bridge closures with some weakened or washed out.
Prepare for dangerous rainfall flooding having possible limited
significant impacts across portions of north and central Georgia north
of Columbus to Athens.

Prepare for life-threatening wind having possible extensive impacts
across portions of central Georgia from Stewart to Dooly to Emanuel
Potential impacts in this area include:

– Considerable roof damage to sturdy buildings, with some having
window, door, and garage door failures leading to structural
damage. Mobile homes severely damaged, with some destroyed.
Damage accentuated by airborne projectiles. Locations may be
uninhabitable for weeks.

– Many large trees snapped or uprooted along with fences and
roadway signs blown over.

– Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban
or heavily wooded places. Several bridges, causeways, and
access routes impassable.

– Large areas with power and communications outages.
Also, prepare for dangerous wind having possible limited significant
impacts across the rest of central Georgia.

Prepare for a tornado event having possible limited impacts across
portions of central Georgia south of Columbus and Macon.
Potential impacts include:

– The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution
of emergency plans during tropical events.

– A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power
and communications disruptions.

– Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys
toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned,
large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow-rooted trees
knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats
pulled from moorings.
Elsewhere across NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA, little to no impact is

Now is the time to check your emergency plan and emergency supplies
kit and take necessary actions to protect your family and secure your
home or business.
Closely monitor weather.gov, NOAA Weather Radio and local news
outlets for official storm information. Listen for possible changes
to the forecast.


Update 2:30 Oct. 8, 2018

Now categorized as a Category 1, Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen to a major Category 3 or even 4 hurricane by the time it makes landfall somewhere on the Gulf Coast Wednesday. Stay tuned for updates as the weather approaches and possibly impacts local conditions.

Initial Story

In its Hazardous Weather Outlook for the local area, including Walton, Gwinnett and surrounding counties, the National Weather Service is warning that Tropical Storm Michael is likely to become a Hurricane today and is expected to move across the central to south Georgia area Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 10 and 11, 2018. This is likely to impact local weather significantly by mid-week.

“However, please remember, the cone of error is as far north as the Atlanta metro and Gainesville areas. The impacts will depend on the actual track of Michael, but at this time, the primary hazards will be strong gusty winds, heavy rainfall, and weak short-lived tornadoes, favoring areas of east and central Georgia,” the NWS noted.

Local residents are advised to keep a lookout for updates to weather forecast as the storm approaches. We will put out any warnings or advisories as and when they may be posted.


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