Severe weather hits Gwinnett

LAWRENCEVILLE — A pollen count that quadrupled within days this week was washed away late Thursday night with heavy rains and severe weather. A tornado watch was issued for Gwinnett and the rest of the metro Atlanta area just before 5 p.m. as a stormy night descended on the area.

The storm moved northeast from Tucker at 40 m.p.h and was capable of producing golf-ball-sized hail and winds up to 60 m.p.h. Locations listed in a severe thunderstorm warning were Lilburn, Norcross, Duluth, Suwanee, Sugar Hill and Buford, the National Weather Service said in a warning statement just after 9 p.m.

A tornado watch remained in effect until 4 a.m. Friday for northern Georgia.

Earlier in the evening, the NWS issued a hazardous weather outlook that said a strong upper level system and associated cold front would move east into Georgia and produce thunderstorms. The system could also include a few embedded tornadoes and large hail.

The NWS outlook said rainfall amounts could reach one to two inches and cause minor flooding in streams and rivers across north and central Georgia.

Before the storm, there was a pollen count of 8,024, according to the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic. Any number above 1,500 is considered “extremely high.”

The pollen count topped 2,000 for the first time this spring on Monday, and jumped to 4,151 by Wednesday.