Flights to Atlanta halted due to severe storms
ATLANTA (AP) — Flights to Atlanta’s airport have been temporarily halted at Atlanta’s airport because of severe storms that have already pelted parts of the Deep South and are moving across the Southeast.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport tweeted from its official account that the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered a ground stop, which means that flights heading to Atlanta from other airports will be held until it is lifted.
Heavy rain — accompanied by fog, thunder and lightning — was falling in Atlanta Wednesday morning.
Hail the size of tennis balls was pelting parts of Alabama ahead of what forecasters say will be waves of severe weather across the Deep South.
Forecasters say some of the largest hail hit early Wednesday in the east Alabama city of Oxford, where convenience store manager Don Copeland says ice was so thick on the ground it looked like it had snowed.
Copeland says he’s still working up courage to go outside and look at his pickup truck, which he fears was damaged by ice balls right after he made a $550 payment on it.
People are using social media to post photos of hail that hit the area. And the National Weather Service says there’s likely more bad weather to come, including powerful tornadoes.
Heavy rain began falling before daybreak in parts of Alabama as severe storms continue their march across the Southeast.
More than 30 counties in Alabama closed schools and colleges this morning or planned for early dismissals.
Local school officials in Columbia, South Carolina, also announced early dismissals.
National Weather Service meteorologist John De Block said early Wednesday he expects storms to last into the evening in southern and eastern Alabama.
Alabama Power officials say there have been about 2,000 outages statewide following the pre-dawn line of storms.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency Tuesday evening and said it would last until the severe weather in the state subsides.
The National Weather Service is calling for thunderstorms, high winds, hail and possible tornadoes Wednesday.
Forecasters expect severe thunderstorms moving across the Southeast to bring a threat of tornadoes and large hail.
The National Weather Service predicts widespread, serious thunderstorms beginning early Wednesday across much of Alabama and Georgia and into the Florida Panhandle and southwestern South Carolina.
National Weather Service meteorologist John De Block says he expects storms to last into the evening in southern and eastern Alabama. He says tornadoes are likely and there’s a strong chance of baseball-sized hail.
In Georgia, meteorologist Laura Belanger says about 75 percent of the state could experience severe weather around sunrise and see it ramp up after 2 p.m.
Belanger says affected cities could include Atlanta and Augusta — the site of this week’s Masters golf tournament.