Southeast Drought update- March 2009

I waited until the end of the month for this update in hopes of higher lake levels. The current level is somewhat disappointing.

Recap– Lake Lanier At 930 AM EST MON FEB 02 2009 was showing a level of 1056.63, Up 3.51 feet from 1053.12 January 2009. Lake Lanier is still down 14.37 feet from a full pool of 1071.0.

Today March 31, 9:43 Am EDT, Lake Lanier has a level of 1060.66. Lanier is still down over 10 feet from a full pool of 1071 but has risen over 4 feet since February. Thats the good news.

The bad news is that over much of Georgia and the Southeast in the past few weeks copious amounts of rain have fallen. Why is this bad. Because it amounts to runoff. Sure it may fill the lake, but to prevent flooding in areas where this rain has occurred the gates are opened to send the excessive amounts of water downstream. To much water benefits no one. Another bad thing is that while many areas have benefited from the past rains, Lake Lanier seems to be in the dry zone time after time recieving less amounts.

In my area the official March rainfall [excluding today] stands at 11.67 inches. At my home the gauge totals out at 12.25inches. According to the weather folks beginning today through Thursday we can expect another 3-7 inches of rain in the southeast. My area is now officially out of the drought, as far as rainfall amounts.

The drought situation is improving in the southeast but were not out of the woods yet. We all know what one dry hot summer can do.

Heres some statistics from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

3,000,000-plus: Metro Atlantans dependent on Lake Lanier for their water

10: How many feet below full Lake Lanier is

6: How many feet Lanier has risen since Jan. 1

120 billion: How many more gallons of water Lanier needs to fill up

325 million: Daily average amount of gallons metro Atlanta withdrew from Lanier and the Chattahoochee River last month

And the latest DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT from the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA

250 PM EDT THU MAR 26 2009

...A SEVERE DROUGHT CONTINUES OVER NORTHEAST GEORGIA...
...A MODERATE DROUGHT TO ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS PREVAIL OVER
THE REMAINDER OF NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA...

SEVERAL DAYS OF RAIN BROUGHT ADDITIONAL RELIEF TO THE DROUGHT
STRICKEN AREAS OF NORTHEAST GEORGIA. WIDESPREAD RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF
ONE TO THREE INCHES OCCURRED OVER NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA DURING
THE PAST 14 DAYS. GREATER RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF THREE TO FIVE INCHES
OCCURRED IN AN AREA FROM SUMMERVILLE TO DALTON TO DAWSONVILLE TO
CEDARTOWN AND FROM HAMILTON TO FORT BENNING.

THE RAINFALL DEFICITS AND SOIL MOISTURE CONTINUED TO IMPROVE OVER
NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA DURING THE PAST TWO WEEKS. CONSEQUENTLY...
A SEVERE DROUGHT CONTINUES NORTH AND EAST OF A LINE FROM BLUE RIDGE
THROUGH CUMMING AND WATKINSVILLE TO WASHINGTON. A MODERATE DROUGHT
TO ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS PREVAILS OVER THE REMAINDER OF NORTH
AND CENTRAL GEORGIA.

WHILE THERE HAS BEEN BENEFICIAL RAINFALL...SIGNIFICANT HYDROLOGICAL
IMPACTS TO WATER SUPPLY...STREAM FLOWS AND GROUND WATER TABLES
CONTINUE OVER NORTHEAST GEORGIA. THIS INCLUDES THE LAKE LANIER BASIN
WHICH CONTINUES TO BE SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED BY THE LONG TERM
SEVERE 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 50 TO 125 PERCENT OF NORMAL RAINFALL OCCURRED OVER
NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA DURING THE PAST 14 DAYS. THE GREATER
AMOUNTS OF RAIN WERE IN THE 125 TO 200 PERCENT OF NORMAL.

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

ATLANTA 39.08 50.20 -11.12 78%
ATHENS 36.52 47.83 -11.31 76%
COLUMBUS 49.29 48.57 +0.72 101%
MACON 43.26 45.00 -1.74 96%

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

CURRENT LAKE LEVELS AT USACE PROJECTS WERE MAINLY FROM AROUND 4
FEET ABOVE SEASONAL POOL LEVEL AT CARTERS TO NEAR 11 FEET BELOW AT
LANIER. THE POOL LEVELS ARE PROJECTED TO SLOWLY RISE DURING THE NEXT
FOUR WEEKS.

LAKE SEASONAL POOL CURRENT LEVEL DEPARTURE
IN FEET
ALLATOONA 835 838.17 +3.17
CARTERS 1072 1076.47 +4.47
HARTWELL 658 649.85 -8.15
LANIER 1070 1059.23 -10.77
THURMOND 329 321.16 -7.84
WEST POINT 631 633.67 +2.67

AVERAGE STREAM LEVELS FOR THE PAST 7 DAYS RANGED FROM 3 TO 30
PERCENT OF NORMAL FLOW OVER NORTH GEORGIA AND FROM 12 TO 50 PERCENT
OF NORMAL FLOW OVER 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.

Until sometime next month……The Drought Files for past reports.

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