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Drenching rains hit north Georgia flood watch issued

ATLANTA -- Heavy rains left left deep water on many Atlanta-area streets as commuters hit the highways Monday morning, creating dangerous driving conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the northern half of Georgia until early Tuesday. Forecasters predicted up to 4 inches of rain.

A flash flood warning was posted for DeKalb, Fulton and southwestern Gwinnett counties in metro Atlanta.

Motorists encountered deep, fast-moving water and the rain reduced visibility Monday morning.

There were numerous accidents, some due to standing water and others caused by fog and poor visibility, said Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation. Some lanes were closed on Interstate 20 west of Atlanta because of standing water, she said.

"The best advice is to drive for conditions," she said.

She said maintenance crews were clearing drains in the metro area to make sure the standing water disappeared as fast as possible.

Kathy Huggins, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said a lightning strike caused a fire in the Carrollton area, leading to the evacuation of 10 homes.

So far there were no reports of major flooding, she said. "We're not anticipating the kind of rain they had in Tennessee," Huggins said. More than 13 inches of rain fell in a two-day period in Nashville, and 11 deaths were reported in the state.

Georgia Power spokesman Jeff Wilson said crews were out Monday morning restoring power to about 2,800 customers who lost their electricity during the storm overnight, with about 1,100 of those out in the north metro area. "The rest are scattered around," he said.

Unless high winds caused additional problems, all power was expected to be restored on Monday, Wilson said.