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LIVE WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Severe thunderstorm watch issued for most of metro Atlanta, west Georgia

[10:14 p.m.]: A flood warning has been issued for Fulton and Forsyth counties until 5 a.m. Sunday by the National Weather Service.

Update [8:36 p.m.]: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for many metro Atlanta counties — including Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton — and most of northwest Georgia until 3 a.m. Friday.

The other counties under the watch are Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Coweta, Crawford, Dade, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Macon, Marion, Meriwether, Monroe, Muscogee, Paulding, Pike, Polk, Schley, Spalding, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Troup, Upson, Walker and Webster.

Original Story: Atlanta is enjoying a cloudy sky and 80-degree temperatures Thursday afternoon. But by the end of the day, the weather should look very different, according to the latest Channel 2 Action News forecast.

Strong to severe storms are expected around midnight in North Georgia, according to Channel 2. At the moment, those storms are battering Mississippi and entering western Alabama.

Thankfully, the bad weather will arrive long after the evening commute. But there are plenty of delays anyway.

In Henry County, only a left lane of I-75 North is open near Ga. 155 because of a crash involving a tractor-trailer, the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center reported.

Drivers in Cobb and Douglas counties on I-20 West are enduring delays after a crash was moved to the left shoulder near Lee Road, the Traffic Center reported. Delays span back to Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

In DeKalb County, a right lane of the Perimeter’s inner loop is blocked near Glenwood Road because of a crash, the Traffic Center reported.

At 6 p.m., Atlanta is hovering around 80 degrees. Things could be drastically different after North Georgia goes to bed, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.

“There are some clouds around (Thursday),” he said. “Those clouds are not yet associated with the storm system that’s coming in tonight and tomorrow morning that I want you to be aware of.”

Monahan said the leading edge of the system is expected to move into the northwest corner of the state around 11 p.m., but the potential for severe weather intensifies around 2 or 3 a.m. Friday.

“The highest risk across western Georgia counties (is) through sunrise (Friday) morning, but everybody has a risk of some strong to severe storms,” Monahan said. “We won’t be done there. There’s going to be an afternoon risk of storms from Atlanta eastward, so a busy weather day coming for tomorrow.”

Monahan said the system will be similar to the one that brought severe weather to North Georgia on Sunday. The highest risk is damaging winds upward of 50 mph, and large hail is also possible, he said.

“As we typically see here during the peak week of the spring severe weather season — that’s this week — (we have) the possibility of isolated, brief spin-up tornadoes,” he said.

A 20 percent chance of rain late Thursday ramps up to 100 percent for Friday, according to Channel 2.

Some Georgia school districts have been affected. Butts County announced it will be on a two-hour delay Friday due to the severe weather threats. In South Georgia, Crisp County Schools will be closed.

“Certainly the heavy rain is going to affect all of us,” Monahan said. “The morning commute tomorrow, it is going to be wet, it is going to be really soggy across North Georgia with that risk of strong to severe storms moving on to the east as we head through the morning time.”

Monahan said it will be cooler Saturday on the other side of a cold front, with lows in the 40s and highs in the 50s in the afternoon. There is a 20 percent chance of some showers Saturday as the front moves further away from the state.

“We’re warming right back up again for Easter Sunday,” he said. Highs Sunday are forecast in the mid-70s, and it should be dry, according to Channel 2.

» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.

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