Marion County under flood watch with possibility of severe thunderstorms

Marion County is under a flood watch, with rainfall amounts up to 3-6 inches possible through Saturday night.

Marion County is one of four counties in Florida that are under a flood watch until Saturday night, with the possibility of up to 3-6 inches of rainfall. The others are Alachua, Gilchrist and Suwanee counties.

The National Weather Service is reporting that isolated severe thunderstorms are possible with gusty winds, lightning and heavy downpours. Residents are encouraged to take precautions if they live or work in flood-prone areas.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is warning motorists to avoid driving through floodwaters. Motorists in Marion County, as well as those in Alachua, Gilchrist and Suwanee counties, also should keep their headlights on for safety while traveling on area roadways during the flood watch.

The National Weather Service also is advising residents to expect numerous thunderstorms Sunday through Wednesday, mainly in the evenings. Isolated strong to severe thunderstorms are possible, with gusty winds of more than 40 mph, lightning and heavy rainfall.

On Friday, a stretch of U.S. Hwy. 441 near Optimum RV in Ocala was down to one lane after being flooded with rain. The southbound lane, just north of U.S. Hwy. 441’s intersection with SE 80th St/County Road 328, had been blocked off by barriers and road signs warned drivers of the hazardous conditions.