Much of Georgia is under a tornado watch through the rest of the afternoon and evening hours just as youth are getting home from their first day back from the holiday break, and parents are getting back on the roads for the commute home.

Polk County joins surrounding counties including Floyd, Haralson, Bartow, Gordon, Chattooga, Carroll, Paulding, Douglas and many others in North, West and Central Georgia under the threat of severe weather.

Storms are just beginning to move into Georgia this afternoon as part of several rounds of rain and thunderstorms set to impact the Southeast through the rest of the day and into midday Wednesday.

Forecasters report in the watch notice these storms are capable of producing damaging wind gusts, brief tornadoes, frequent lightning and heavy rainfall.

The current tornado watch is through 9 p.m.

Per Radar snapshots, the first round of severe weather is moving Northeast from Pell City and Jacksonville, Alabama toward Haralson, Polk and Floyd Counties. Much of the first round of severe weather is already impacting Centre and far western Floyd Counties, and could impact northwest Polk County in the coming minutes.

Check back for further updates as they become available.

Some safety reminders:

If you see a tornado in your area, immediately take shelter. Do not attempt to drive through heavy winds and rain. Find a safe area to park if you are driving, like and underpass, if you believe you can not make it to shelter.

Do take shelter inside of your home if a tornado warning is issued. Find an interior room without windows, like a bathroom, to take shelter. A basement or tornado shelter is preferable.

Keep a battery-0perated weather radio handy for alerts about the storms in case power is lost in your immediate area during severe weather. Additionally, make sure to have emergency supplies handy like batteries and a flashlight, candles, non-perishable food items for each family member for at least 72 hours, changes of clothes, and other items you might need during an emergency situation.

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