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Summer is here with ‘popcorn’ thunderstorms

JONESBORO — Residents received an abrupt start to summer this past week. High winds and heavy rainfall left some trees toppled and streets flooded throughout metro Atlanta.

Weather officials warn that as the area dries out there is a chance for the occasional afternoon shower and thunderstorm.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nate Mayes said the region is beginning to experience its typical summertime weather patterns.

“Mid-afternoon popcorn thunderstorms will become more frequent,” he said.

Mayes said a cold front and a low pressure system moved across the South from Oklahoma and east Texas last week.

The wedge of storms reached north Georgia June 13, dumping .85 inches of rain at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He said the airport recorded 43-mph sustained winds with gusts reaching 54-mph.

Another 2 inches has fallen since, he said. Most of that 1.5 inches fell Monday and prompted flash flood warnings in some spots.

Rainfall is not expected to be as bountiful this weekend. The forecast is for slight chances through Sunday.

Mayes said there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday and Saturday, and chances increase to 30 percent Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-80s with overnight lows in the 60s.

Mayes said the ground has been saturated with rain over the past few days and is providing the atmosphere more moisture to develop potential thunderstorms in the heat of the day.

“If you’re out and about, keep plenty of non-alcoholic hydration and take an umbrella with you to the park just in case,” he said. “And make sure sunscreen is being used. Even with cloudy skies, ultraviolet rays can penetrate the skin.”