July 1, 2013

Wet week may dampen Fourth of July plans

Wes Chance

— Heavy rain with possible thunderstorms through the week may damper Fourth of July activities, according to weather services.

The National Weather Service on Sunday issued an alert calling for a prolonged period of strong thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall likely Tuesday through Friday. This could affect holiday activities scheduled in Whitfield and Murray counties.

Fourth of July festivities are scheduled for Thursday in Whitfield County and Saturday in Murray County.

Rainfall could range from 2 to 4 inches with amounts in some areas around 5 inches possible, creating some flooding problems, according to the weather service based in Peachtree City.

Tornadoes, however, are not in the forecast.

“The good thing, in one sense, is that this is not a severe weather situation,” Mark Paquette, a meteorologist with AccuWeather based in College Station, Pa., said Sunday afternoon.

Paquette said that wind circulation going clockwise around a high pressure system over the east coast, called a Bermuda High, is bringing very moist air up from the Gulf of Mexico while a low pressure trough over the Ohio Valley sinks down between that high pressure system and a low pressure one to the west.

“And that pattern is just stuck, nothing is going to move it,” for the rest of the work week and possibly beyond, Paquette said.

He said to expect most rainfall in the afternoon and evening hours as the summer’s hot sun heats up the atmosphere.

“The main threat is flash flooding up and down the East Coast,” Paquette said, because most areas have had a lot of rain recently and heavy rainfall may hit some places daily.

Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. The high will be in the mid-80s. It will be mostly cloudy tonight with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. The chances of rain increase during the week and some of these storms could be strong to severe with wind gusts of up to 60 mph.

Expect possible hail and cloud-to-ground lightning, the National Weather Service forecasts.

“This weather pattern is stagnant, stale and will not move a lot,” Paquette said.


For updates on area Fourth of July activities, call the following:

• Dalton Parks and Recreation Department, (706) 278-5404; weather hotline: (706) 281-1323.

• Murray County Recreation Department, (706) 695-7359.