Southeast Drought Update- October ’08

Recap from September 2008– “With RAIN on the way which some have forecast to be heavy at times, we will see if it can put a small dent in the water level. At any rate, the welcomed rain will only be a temporary solution.”

I’ve been following the Southeast Drought, specifically the impact on Lake Sydney Lanier for over the past year and a half. I have posted the conditions here at Cataula GA WX since October 2007.

The current condition at 929 AM EDT TUE OCT 08 2008 for LAKE LANIER, Water level: 1053.59, Full pool: 1071. Lake Lanier is Down 17 feet point 41 inches. Lanier is Down 1 foot point 53 inches from September 12, 2008 and Down 2 feet point 41 inches since October 2007.

Here is the current graph from today showing Lake Lanier at a Pool Elevation of 1053.59- [click image to enlarge]

And this from October 26,2007 showing Lake Lanier at a Pool Elevation of 1056.00 FT. [click image to enlarge]

While OUR numbers are different from others who write about the Southeast drought and the impacts on Lake Lanier, Our Questions as to How the Water is Managed are similar. STACY SHELTON from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution October 03, 2008 edition wrote:

Georgia drought persists, but not panic

Last October, Lake Lanier — metro Atlanta’s primary water source — was nearly five feet higher than it is today.

All year, the lake has set daily low records. Thursday, it was 17 feet below full.

Hurricane Fay dropped more than a half-foot of water in late August, but September was extremely dry. Less than an inch of rain fell in the lake area.

This week, the U.S. Drought Monitor forecast a continuing drought through December for the North Georgia river basin that feeds Lake Lanier.

But unlike today, this time last year the state was in full crisis mode. It imposed a near-total ban on outdoor watering, and Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency. He also told North Georgia to reduce total water use by 10 percent or face fines.

So why isn’t the drought making as much news this year? EPD spokesman Kevin Chambers gave three reasons:

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing far less water from Lanier, a daily average of 425 million gallons, or 38 percent less this September than last.

• Smaller reservoirs have refilled, and some vulnerable systems are buying water from neighbors.

• Water conservation is working. Metro Atlanta is still under tight restrictions on outdoor water use. That, plus individual and corporate efforts, brought North Georgia water use down 24 percent in August compared with August 2007, according to the state.

So again, heres the Billion Dollar Question- If in

October 2007 Governor Sunny Perdue declared a ‘State of Emergency’ in Georgia

, why [as far as I’m concerned because I live in Georgia] is it that most of the Water Restrictions have become lax, or Totally lifted. The Condition is just as bad NOW, as it was last Year at this time. In Fact, it’s Worse! Remember from above ? “Lake Lanier is Down 2 feet point 41 inches from October 2007.”

The Outlook for the next few months has been revised.
Last month the Short term forecast in the Southeast was for Drought Conditions to Improve- “Drought Likely to Improve, Impacts Ease.”

And Now…..“Drought to PERSIST or INTENSIFY and, Drought ONGOING, SOME Improvement.”

Latest Seasonal Assessment – The tropical weather systems that affected the CONUS have chipped away at the edges of the drought areas over Texas and the southeast. Unfortunately the heaviest precipitation from the tropical systems missed the core drought areas for both of these regions. In general the new drought outlook is more pesimistic with regard to the probabilitiy of improvement over the southeast mainly due to the climatological reduction in tropical storm activity over the Atlantic for the upcoming forecast period. The decrease in tropical activity also leads to a more pessimistic forecast of improvement for Texas. The drought areas over the northern Plains/Upper Missisippi Valley should see some relief during the first seven days of the period especially over the southern portions. In addition the 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts show a tilt of the odds towards above normal precipitation for these areas. Forecasts of precipitation in the short range, and climatological considerations suggest improvement for the drought area over northern California, especially along the coast. The area of drought over southern California is expected to persist. Forecaster: R. Schechter

So as you can see, the Drought like the current economy is going to get Worse, and the Elected Officials and those in Control in Both situations are ‘Only’ offering ‘Temporary’ Solutions.

Unless Drought conditions worsen or the Dam Breaks, my next Southeast Drought Update will be November 2008. Until then, Take Care. ~Ed

See the Drought Files for more Information, Graphs, and Pictures.

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