NWS: Violent storms expected

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- A strong line of thunderstorms will move further south and east than officials had anticipated, meaning more rain and a higher risk for tornadoes than they had originally thought, authorities said Tuesday.

On Monday, officials with the National Weather Service told emergency management directors throughout southern Alabama, northern Florida and Southwest Georgia to brace for weather that they said carried a "moderate risk" of widespread tornadic activity.

On Tuesday, those same officials said the system was moving faster than expected and that the heaviest of the rain, along with the higher winds, would likely hit further south than expected, drawing a line from Albany to Dothan, Ala., to Pensacola, Fla.

The NWS also upgraded the area's chance of widespread tornadoes to the "severe" category, listing a 30 percent probably that more than one tornado would be spawned today from this storm system.

Weather officials predict that the system should clear out of the area by 3 p.m. today, with colder temperatures following close behind it.

"This isn't a good scenario for us," Dougherty EMA Director and Fire Chief James Carswell said. "Again, anyone who doesn't have to be out in the weather should stay at home."

School officials were scrambling Tuesday afternoon to determine their best course of action. In Dougherty County, officials with the Dougherty County School System met just before 5 p.m. to discuss options, since much of the severe weather was set to hit the area around the time children would be heading to school.

School officials were planning to start out before dawn this morning, with some checking weather reports at 4:30 a.m. before making a final determination on whether to proceed with classes as scheduled.

"We've spoken with the people in Tallahassee and a lot depends on the speed this thing moves through," Dougherty School System spokesperson R.D. Harter said. "There's a chance it could miss the buses."

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