Madison County News

May 1, 2008

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Brace for more drought
State climatologist expects water levels to drop again in coming months
The winter rains brought needed nourishment to the parched earth, but north Georgia remains in an extreme drought.
State climatologist David Emory Stooksbury issued a report last week stating that the precipitation in recent months provided some relief, but didn’t end the drought.
He noted that Oct. 1 through the middle of April “is considered Georgia’s moisture recharge period, when the state typically gets more rain than moisture loses due to evaporation and plant use.”
“North Georgia didn’t receive enough rain to fully recharge soil moisture, groundwater, streams or reservoirs,” wrote Stooksbury. “Since Oct. 1, north Georgia has received only 70 percent to 80 percent of normal rainfall.”
Stooksbury said most north Geogia streams are at or near record low flows for late April.
“Both Lake Lanier and Lake Hartwell are well below desired levels for late April,” wrote Stooksbury. “Smaller reservoirs are near full, though. However, with the extremely low stream flows across north Georgia, these smaller reservoirs must be managed well because drought conditions are expected to continue.”
The climatologist said moisture loss from soils is typically greater than rainfall during the spring and summer months.
“If Georgia has normal weather this summer, we can expect the soils to continue to dry out and groundwater levels, stream flows and reservoir levels to drop across the entire state,” he wrote.
Updated drought information is available at The state drought Web site includes information on how to deal with the drought.
The University of Georgia statewide network of automated weather stations can be found at


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