Southeast Drought update- December 2008

Lake Lanier flirts with 20ft below mark

First, I would like to talk about Lake Lanier being 20ft below full pool. Until the rain from the nor’easter which brought Snow to areas of the Deep South, Lanier was over 20 ft. down. At 921 AM EST TUE DEC 09 2008 the water level was 1050.98 ft; down 0.03inches from Dec 08, 2008. Yesterday after a couple days of rain [heavy in my area] at 932 AM EST THU DEC 11 2008 Lake Lanier had a level of 1051.28; up 0.29inches from Dec 10, 2008 which had another 20ft below reading at 1050.99ft.

LAKE LANIER 933 AM EST FRI DEC 12 2008 1051.76 up 0.48

I wanted to be fair so I waited until today for the current reading, after the History making storm cleared the area and the runoff made its way to the lake.

Today 907 AM EST MON DEC 15 2008 Lake Lanier showed a level of 1052.00ft. up 0.03 . After the rains Lake Lanier is still down 19 feet. Still it flirts with record low elevations set in 2007.

Don’t let that fool you though. From last year- December 25,2007 shows Lake Lanier at a Pool Elevation of 1050.90 FT., that is only a gain of 1.1 ft in a little under a year. This will be gone in a month.

Below you can read some of the recent reports on the ‘Southeast Drought’ from the national weather service and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For previous post, graphs, images on the drought, check our Drought Files

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Downpour halts Lake Lanier’s decline, for now

By STACY SHELTON

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For the first time this year, Lake Lanier did not set the new daily low-water mark.

The difference was rain that started falling by the buckets across the region Tuesday night, raising the lake nearly half a foot.

Before Thursday, Lanier had been rewriting a 48-year history with record low levels every day starting Jan. 1. The federal reservoir is metro Atlanta’s primary source for water.

“We finally are not setting a new record,” said E. Patrick Robbins, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the lake. “We’ll take what we can get.”

Lanier has suffered dramatically since metro Atlanta fell into the grip of an unprecedented drought starting in the spring of 2006. Earlier this week, the lake dropped to 20 feet below its full, summertime level. In fact, before the rain started Tuesday, the lake dropped to within 2 inches of its all-time lowest level, set on Dec. 26 of last year.

The rain, coupled with the corps’ decision to tamp down on the amount of water released into the Chattahoochee River has delayed, if not saved, the lake from setting a new record low. The corps had forecast Lanier would break the record low level by now. It’s current forecast shows the record could be broken in early January.

Most importantly, the 2.5 inches of rain that has fallen this week gave Lanier more than 4 billion gallons of water — enough to supply metro Atlanta for more than 10 days.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2008/12/11/downpour_lake_lanier.html
—————————

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
1215 PM EST THU DEC 4 2008

...AN EXTREME TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT PREVAILS OVER A LARGE PORTION
OF NORTH AND NORTHEAST GEORGIA...
...A MODERATE TO SEVERE DROUGHT DOMINATES THE REMAINDER OF NORTH
AND CENTRAL GEORGIA...

A FEW DAYS OF RAIN WITH EMBEDDED HEAVY SHOWERS BROUGHT SOME RELIEF
TO THE DROUGHT STRICKEN AREAS OF NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA. RAINFALL
AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES OCCURRED MAINLY OVER NORTH GEORGIA AND 2 TO
4 INCHES OCCURRED OVER CENTRAL GEORGIA. UNFORTUNATELY...THERE WERE
SOME LOCATIONS ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTH GEORGIA FROM BLUE RIDGE TO
BLAIRSVILLE THAT RECEIVED AROUND ONE HALF INCH.

THE RAINFALL DEFICITS AND SOIL MOISTURE REMAINED AROUND THE SAME IN
MOST AREAS OF NORTH GEORGIA DURING THE PAST TWO WEEKS. THE RECENT
HEAVY RAIN IN CENTRAL GEORGIA WAS THE EXCEPTION. CONSEQUENTLY...AN
EXTREME TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT EXISTS NORTH AND EAST OF A LINE FROM
CHATSWORTH THROUGH ROSWELL AND EATONTON TO NEAR WRENS. A MODERATE TO
SEVERE DROUGHT CONTINUES OVER THE REMAINDER OF NORTH AND CENTRAL
GEORGIA.

WHILE THERE HAS BEEN SOME BENEFICIAL RAINFALL FOR SHALLOW ROOTED
PLANTS AND GRASSES...SIGNIFICANT HYDROLOGICAL IMPACTS TO WATER
SUPPLY...STREAM FLOWS AND GROUND WATER TABLES CONTINUE OVER MOST OF
NORTH GEORGIA. THIS INCLUDES THE LAKE LANIER BASIN WHICH CONTINUES
TO BE SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED BY THE LONG TERM EXTREME DROUGHT.

SEE HTTP://WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/FFC/HTML/RAINDEF.SHTML FOR THE LATEST
U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR IMAGE AND OTHER DROUGHT RELATED INFORMATION.

------------------------------------------------------------------
CLIMATE IMPACTS

GENERALLY 25 TO 90 PERCENT OF NORMAL RAINFALL OCCURRED OVER NORTH
GEORGIA DURING THE PAST 14 DAYS. GREATER RAINFALL AMOUNTS OVER
CENTRAL GEORGIA WERE FROM 90 TO 200 PERCENT OF NORMAL.

LOCATION TOTAL RAINFALL NORMAL DEPARTURE PERCENT
LAST 365 DAYS VALUE FROM NORMAL OF NORMAL

ATLANTA 41.25 50.26 -9.01 82%
ATHENS 37.41 47.87 -10.46 78%
COLUMBUS 50.02 48.61 +1.41 103%
MACON 48.76 45.05 +3.71 108%

------------------------------------------------------------------
RESERVOIRS/STREAM LEVELS

CURRENT LAKE LEVELS AT USACE PROJECTS WERE MAINLY FROM NEAR 6 FEET
ABOVE WINTER POOL LEVEL AT WEST POINT TO AROUND 19 FEET BELOW AT
LANIER. THE POOL LEVELS ARE PROJECTED TO SLOWLY FALL DURING THE NEXT
FOUR WEEKS.

THE USACE HAS PROJECTED THE LAKE LANIER POOL ELEVATION WILL REACH A
NEW RECORD LOW AROUND DECEMBER 13TH PROVIDING NO ADDITIONAL
SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL OCCURS DURING THE NEXT 10 DAYS. THE CURRENT
RECORD LOW IS 1050.75 FEET MSL SET ON DECEMBER 28 2007 AROUND 5 AM.

LAKE WINTER POOL CURRENT LEVEL DEPARTURE
IN FEET
ALLATOONA 823 825.58 +2.85
CARTERS 1072 1061.55 -10.45
HARTWELL 656 637.72 -18.28
LANIER 1070 1051.11 -18.89
THURMOND 326 314.49 -11.51
WEST POINT 625 630.95 +5.95

AVERAGE STREAM LEVELS FOR THE PAST 7 DAYS RANGED FROM AS LOW AS 1
PERCENT OF NORMAL FLOW IN PORTIONS OF NORTH GEORGIA TO AS HIGH AS 80
PERCENT OF NORMAL FLOW IN PORTIONS OF CENTRAL GEORGIA DUE TO RECENT
RAINFALL.

PLEASE NOTE THAT CREEKS AND SMALLER RIVERS CAN CHANGE QUICKLY DUE TO
RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAIN IF IT OCCURS.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
FIRE DANGER LEVELS

THE LATEST FIRE DANGER ASSESSMENT INDICATES A LOW RISK IN NORTHWEST
GEORGIA TO A HIGH RISK IN NORTHEAST AND CENTRAL GEORGIA.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ASSESSMENT CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY DUE TO CHANGES
IN MOISTURE LEVELS AND RAINFALL RECEIVED.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK

THE OUTLOOK FOR DECEMBER...EQUAL CHANCES OF ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL
TEMPERATURE AND BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION ARE EXPECTED.

90 DAY OUTLOOK...FOR DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY...SLIGHTLY ABOVE
NORMAL TEMPERATURE IS EXPECTED. SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION
IS EXPECTED. THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS WILL LIKELY PERSIST OVER NORTH
AND CENTRAL GEORGIA WITH THE SURFACE IMPACTS EASING DURING THE
WINTER MONTHS.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
THIS DATA WAS FURNISHED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN
COOPERATION WITH THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY...THE GEORGIA STATE
CLIMATOLOGIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA...THE GEORGIA
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DIVISION...AND THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF
ENGINEERS. CURRENT FIRE DANGER ASSESSMENTS WERE PROVIDED BY THE
GEORGIA FORESTRY COMMISSION.

THE NEXT DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT IS SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY
...DECEMBER 18 2008.

$$

16
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=dgtffc

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