Local threats from what is now Hurricane Zeta have increased, according to the National Weather Service. In response Cherokee County schools will be closed on Thursday, officials said.

According to a statement posted on the Cherokee County School District website, the closure comes because of the possibility of flooding and high winds in the early morning hours. “This will not be a Digital Learning Day due to the likely event of expected widespread power outages throughout the morning. A decision to allow Thursday extracurricular events will be made mid-day based upon local conditions,” the school system message said.

Cherokee Area Transit System also announced a delay in service on Thursday until 10 a.m.

A tropical storm warning for Cherokee County has been added to the flash flood watch issued Tuesday.

The flood watch remains in effect through Thursday evening, and a tropical storm warning — which comes with the probability of strong wind gusts — is in effect through midday Thursday.

Widespread rain moved into Cherokee County and across north Georgia early Wednesday and expected to continue with periods of very heavy rainfall possible through Thursday night. Wind gusts of more than 50 mph are possible from before daylight Thursday through midday, according to the weather service.

Weather updates and warnings are available around the clock on the tribuneledgernews.com home page.

National Weather Service officials recommend that people secure lightweight outdoor objects that might be blown around in high winds. With the rain and possible high winds, falling trees or tree limbs are a threat as the storm moves through. Flash flooding of streets and low-lying areas are possible through Thursday night.

Hurricane Zeta was expected to make landfall near New Orleans on Wednesday evening and then follow a northwesterly track through the South toward the Mid-Atlantic.

Rainfall projections for Cherokee County are 1 to 3 inches, according to the weather service.

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