The effects of Hurricane Sally are expected to impact Baldwin County and surrounding areas in central Georgia by Wednesday night and Thursday as it is downsized to a tropical storm.
But even so, it could still cause havoc in the region, especially in terms of rain amount and the danger of flash flooding from heavy rains.
Milledgeville-Baldwin County Emergency Management, U.S. Homeland Agency Director Wayne Johnson is keeping a close eye on the potentially dangerous situation as the remnants of the major storm could bring several inches of local rainfall.
“We could see between two and four inches of rainfall between Wednesday night and through Thursday or even more,” Johnson told The Union-Recorder during a telephone interview late Monday afternoon. “We could potentially get even more rain from this storm since it appears the model has shifted south now.”
Johnson said if the storm comes south it could pose a threat for flash flooding, especially in low-line areas prone to flooding in neighborhoods around the Oconee River, which runs through downtown Milledgeville.
Locally, there also could be some windy conditions once Sally loses strength as a hurricane and is downgraded to a tropical storm.
Johnson urges residents in Milledgeville and Baldwin County to purchase batteries for flashlights and other accessories in the event of electrical power outages due to possible downed trees or limbs.
“I caution everyone to listen to the latest weather conditions, so they know how to prepare for this storm,” Johnson said.
Experts with National Weather Service indicate the potential for up to even six-plus inches of rainfall within a zone stretching across north Georgia.
Hurricane Sally rapidly intensified during the day Monday and had become a category 2 hurricane by late that afternoon, according to David Nadler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
The hurricane was located just off the southeast coast of Louisiana.
Hurricane Sally was expected to further strengthen over the next 12 to 24 hours before it actually makes landfall sometime late Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday night, weather experts said.
After the hurricane makes landfall, Sally is expected to make a turn to the northeast, and move across southern Mississippi and Alabama sometime Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday night.
“The track (center of the storm) has shifted south,” Nadler said. “ All of north and central Georgia remain in the forecast cone of uncertainty, meaning there is at least a 67 percent chance the system will track within this area.”
Because of the shift south, the heaviest rain axis has shifted south, as compared to previous forecasts.
It means that residents in Milledgeville and Baldwin, and surrounding areas will likely see higher than previously predicted rainfall amounts.