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Georgia declared drought-free, rains continue

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The recent blitz of wet weather has produced more than an inch of rain over the past two days in metro Atlanta, according to experts with the National Weather Service.

And statewide, the rain this week is replenishing this summer's lagging rainfall accumulation, according to Pam Knox, Georgia's assistant state climatologist.

In fact, the state is currently drought-free, according to the U. S. Drought Monitor, which released its latest analysis on Sept. 15. The analysis indicated that only about 10 percent of the state had experienced abnormally dry conditions.

Knox said, however, even those conditions may soon change with recent rain events.

She said the abnormally dry conditions in parts of the state were likely due to weather patterns caused by El Nino conditions that have left the tropics fairly dry this summer, somewhat adversely affecting rain fall amounts in Georgia.

"A fairly significant fraction of our rainfall comes from tropical storms," Knox said. "About 10-30 percent of our rainfall typically comes as a result of tropical storms. But this year, also, the tropics have not been all that active."

Even so, Knox said Georgia's water table has remained relatively stable, due to a fairly wet late winter, and a fairly wet early spring. She expects that the state will experience some dry episodes this fall, just before it enters into a wetter winter.

"While rain fall is fairly evenly distributed during the year in Georgia," she said, "the driest time of the year is typically the fall. One of the things that we see in an El Nino winter, in Georgia, is more rain patterns. That's more true in South Georgia than in North Georgia, but we expect most of Georgia to be cooler and wetter than normal."

Weather forecasters expect rain to continue throughout this weekend. The National Weather Service reported 1.29 inches of rain in metro-Atlanta by mid-day Thursday, which had fallen since Tuesday. The area was soaked late Wednesday into early Thursday with .76 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service reports a 60 percent chance of showers today with possible thunderstorms in the area. Rainfall amounts are projected to be between a quarter to half an inch.

Rain chances will continue at 60 percent through Saturday, tapering off Saturday night into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters anticipate more moderate chances for showers and thunderstorms next week.