Spring-like temperatures spawned afternoon storms in Atlanta today, put a wrench in afternoon rush hour traffic, and caused after-school activities and sports at Atlanta Public Schools to be canceled.
While Atlanta meteorologists prepared residents and commuters for an unpredictable afternoon and early evening, locals out and about earlier today seemed to be enjoying the almost 70-degree weather after a weekend of cold and windy temperatures.
Fox 5's Ken Cook gave maybe the best preview of things to come with a Facebook post early Tuesday afternoon reading, "SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS POSSIBLE IN ATLANTA METRO AREA THIS AFTERNOON. A strong cold front will move across our area late this afternoon and evening. Increasing moisture and strong lifting in the upper atmosphere suggest the development of heavy to possibly severe thunderstorms over north and central Georgia later this afternoon into early evening. The greatest threat will come from strong straight line winds, but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out."
The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for 50 central Georgia counties, including Fulton and DeKalb. The watch extends through 9 p.m. tonight. A Wind Advisory has also been issued and is in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday for most of north and central Georgia. The advisory warns of winds of 15-25 mph and gusts reaching up to 40 mph. An advisory of this sort means that winds are expected that could "topple trees or bring down large branches and will make driving difficult ... especially for high-profile vehicles."
As one might guess, traffic started being an issue before 4 p.m. today. A wreck on 75/85 northbound caused extra delays heading north, and the storm knocked out traffic lights on Windy Hill Road in Cobb County right at the start of rush hour.
The storms were the strongest heading through North Fulton County and East Cobb, as well as south of the Atlanta metro area in Fayette County.
The weather is expected to take a turn through the night, as snow is expected to accumulate in north metro counties like White, where schools are already delaying classes. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued starting at 10 p.m. through 1 p.m. Wednesday, cautioning White, Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Pickens, Dawson, and Lumpkin of black ice and snow accumulations of half an inch to an inch overnight. Higher elevations could see up to 2 inches.
Rick Limpert covers events, sports, and technology in the Atlanta area. You can follow him on Twitter @RickRoswell.