0

April showers expected early this spring

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Weather officials are encouraging area residents to stay informed, as they anticipate another pelting round of stormy weather for metro Atlanta.

"People should always be aware that we do have that severe weather threat this time of year, and they should be prepared," said Robert Garcia, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS).

Garcia said, while severe weather is not expected in the Southern Crescent area, residents can expect Tuesday evening's showers and isolated thunderstorms to spread across the region, throughout the day Wednesday.

The meteorologist acknowledged that the second dousing of rainfall in less than a week could bring enough rain to cause flooding in some flood-prone areas, that are still soaked from this past weekend's storms.

Garcia reported Tuesday afternoon that the NWS had recorded 3.88 inches of rain since midday on Saturday, March 26, through its Automated Surface Observing System at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Garcia said the weather system that arrived, heading into this week, was the result of low-lying high pressure, called a wedge pattern, over the mid-Atlantic.

Cold air, he explained, is stalled over the Southeast region because it cannot get moved over the Appalachian Mountains (or ridge). It has left the region abnormally cool, and wet.

"This time of year, we're typically near 70 degrees for our highs," he said. "We're as much as 15 degrees below normal."

This week, high temperatures have topped out in the mid-to-upper 50s, throughout metro Atlanta. The forecast will remain so until Friday, when temperatures are expected to be in the low 60s.

"Eventually, it will change as we see a shift in the pattern some time next week," Garcia said. "Our forecast is looking like we'll reach the mid-60s by Saturday, and we'll see mid-to-upper 70s by Sunday. On Monday, we're expecting a 30 percent chance of showers, and thunderstorms, with a high near 76."

Extended weather forecasts for metro Atlanta reflect models of cooler than normal, and wetter than normal, weather conditions to start the month of April, said Garcia, citing the NWS' Climate Prediction Center. "I'd say we're going to have April showers," he said.

State Climatologist David Emory Stooksbury said the area's wetter than normal weather lately is indicative of a moist spring to come in northern Georgia.

"The southern half of the state will be drier than normal," Stooksbury said. "And we expect northwest and north central Georgia to be wetter than normal. [However,] there is a high probability that spring will be warmer than normal statewide.

"Water resources are in good shape across north Georgia right now," he continued. "Right now, the major concern is south, central, and southeast Georgia, where major wildfires are an issue. South Georgia has been very dry for the last year or so."