Cooler temps and more rain possible

Sep. 6—VALDOSTA — As the cleanup from Hurricane Idalia continues, Lowndes County can expect a gradual slackening of temperatures as a modest rise in rain chances arrives in the next week, forecasters said.

National Weather Service forecasts call for high temperatures in Valdosta to drop off from the lower 90s Wednesday to the upper 80s over the weekend. An erroneous "current" temperature of 104 degrees shown on the weather service's Valdosta page Wednesday was the result of storm damage to weather equipment at Valdosta Regional Airport, said Israel Gonzales, meteorologist for the weather service's Tallahassee, Fla., office.

A high pressure system kept things warm and dry around Valdosta at the end of the week, but an advancing cold front was expected to trim the high temperatures, he said.

"The cold front is expected to stall over the region for a few days, producing more clouds" and lowering the daytime highs, said Karl Ericcson, senior meteorologist for the private forecasting firm AccuWeather.

As the temperature drops slightly, rain chances also were expected to rise a bit, from 20% Thursday to 50% Friday, dropping off to around 30% over the weekend, according to the weather service. Ericcson said isolated areas could get up to three-quarters of an inch of rain.

Tifton was expected to have a similar cooldown of temperatures, with rain chances peaking at 40% Friday

Thursday afternoon, a storm in the Atlantic was expected to reach hurricane strength, and forecasts from the National Hurricane Center showed it becoming an "extremely dangerous major hurricane," at least Category 3, by Saturday.

Ericcson said that, while it's still too far in the future for an accurate prediction, models seem to show the storm taking a northerly turn and threatening the East Coast.

South Georgia should have no long-term severe weather, though Gonzales said there was a minimum chance of isolated showers and gusty winds Friday.

Terry Richards is the senior reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times.