0

Rainy weather erases drought, fills reservoirs

Photo by Heather Middleton 
An above average year in rain has helped to fill local reservoirs like the Blalock Reservoir which spans southern parts of Clayton County.

Photo by Heather Middleton An above average year in rain has helped to fill local reservoirs like the Blalock Reservoir which spans southern parts of Clayton County.

McDONOUGH — Severe heat and drought plague the western half of the continental United States.

But circumstances are starkly different in the east.

There are areas of Alabama and West Virginia experiencing abnormally dry conditions but the rest of the country east of the Mississippi River is drought-free, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s U.S. Drought Monitor.

The year began with more than 98 percent of the state experiencing some form of abnormal dryness or drought. The center reported the opposite this month — as of July 2 the state is drought-free.

Rain saturated the Southeast this spring and summer, said National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Willis.

“We went from drought worries last year to flooding worries this year,” he said.

The most recent weather event pulled moisture north from the Gulf Coast. It dumped buckets of rain across the Southeast and into the Ohio Valley.

Willis said the agency’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport observation station has so far recorded more than 4.30 inches of rainfall for July.

Data showed nine days of measurable rainfall and another four days in which trace amounts were recorded.

He said rainfall for the year is at 41.62 inches — 14.45 inches above normal.

Rain has benefited local reservoirs.

Clayton County Water Authority spokesman Suzanne Brown said the county’s raw storage reservoirs have swelled in recent months.

“One upside to all of this rain is that our reservoirs are full,” Brown said.

Willis said to expect more scattered thunderstorms and showers later this week, when day-to-day chances will gradually increase to around 50 percent. The afternoon showers, he said, are typical for summers in Georgia.