Newton County residents can expect stormy weather for the next few days as the effects of Hurricane Isaac pass through the area.
Isaac reached hurricane level Tuesday afternoon on its path west toward the Gulf area and is expected to have its biggest impact on southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southwest Georgia, according to the National Weather Service.
Although Georgia is no longer in the path of Isaac, the state and Newton County will still experience scattered thunderstorms, gusty winds and occasional lightning throughout the week. Temperatures this week will reach the mid-80s with lows in the 60s. According to NWS, the rain is expected to end by Tuesday.
Minor flooding in low laying areas, especially around Yellow River, could also be possibility, said Newton County Emergency Management Director Tray Polk.
Polk said he advises those in reas prone to flooding to make arrangements to move to higher ground for a couple of days until the storm passes. The county is expected to average one to three inches of rainfall through Friday, though higher amounts are expected during thunderstorms, according to NWS.
Depending on the actual storm track and whether the hurricane changes its course to go east, the heavy rains could lead to more flooding, according to an Associated Press article.
No tornado developments are expected for the area; however, NWS and Polk said an isolated tornado cannot be completely ruled out.
"It (tornado) is always a possibility, especially during this time of year, but hopefully not," Polk said.
Polk said residents should have a three day supply of food, water and medical supplies in case of a power outage. Additionally, if residents have Labor Day weekend traveling plans, Polk advises travelers to avoid driving on roads with standing water.
"As of right now, it's still OK to drive, but if by chance you can't see the road, don't go through it," he said. "There could be things in the water that you don't see or the road could give."
Georgia's Emergency Management website, ready.ga.gov, also issued the following advice from their website:
•Purchase a kit of emergency supplies and prepare a portable ready kit in case you have to evacuate, visit ready.ga.gov to learn how.
•Prepare to secure your property
•Bring all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down inside
•If you have a vehicle, fill the gas tank in case you have to evacuate.
Gas prices on the rise
Another way Newton County residents could feel the effects of Hurricane Isaac is in the form of higher gas prices.
Some gas price analysts predicted a rise in prices which could put a damper on Labor Day traveling plans. According to the Oil Price Information Service, wholesale prices jumped by a national average of almost eight cents a gallon Monday. AtlantaGasPrices.com said average gas prices around the Atlanta area rose 6.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.77 a gallon Tuesday.
Refineries in the Gulf have been closing down in anticipation of Isaac, but experts predict those to re-open quickly AAA (American Automobile Association) predicts gas prices could jump by 20 cents after the hurricane reaches Louisiana. The Oil Price Information Service, however, predicted a lesser price hike of only a few cents and expects the national average to reach $3.80 by Friday.
As of Tuesday, some gas stations in Covington already surpassed the $3.80 marked and reached $3.94 per gallon.
For more information visit ready.ga.gov, fema.gov or forecast.weather.gov.
Disclaimer: Information was collected as of press time Tuesday; weather predictions and gas prices may have change since that time.