Hot and Dry : Georgia June 2011 Climate Summary

If you happen to live in Georgia, you know it was Hot and Dry in June. If you’ve followed along here at Cataula GA WX you’ve read about some of the Record Breaking Heat, and Drought Conditions in Georgia. Here is the summary for June 2011……

Georgia Climate Summary for June 2011

Prepared by Pam Knox, Assistant State Climatologist
Georgia State Climatology Office

Very hot daytime temperatures and lack of rainfall led to strengthened drought across Georgia in June. Average temperatures were at or near record levels for the month across the state.

Temperatures across the state were above normal everywhere in Georgia for a fifth straight month. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 81.2 degrees F (4.4 degrees above normal), in Athens 81.0 degrees (4.7 degrees above normal), Columbus 84.4 (5.2 degrees above normal), Macon 82.9 (4.9 above normal), Savannah 83.0 (4.2 above normal), Brunswick 82.4 (3.0 above normal), Alma 83.5 (4.2 above normal), Valdosta 83.3 (4.9 above normal) and Augusta 82.1 (4.6 above normal).

This was the warmest June ever in Columbus in 64 years of record. It was the second warmest in Macon in 119 years of record, only surpassed by 84.3 degrees F in June 1952. It was the third warmest June in 133 years of Atlanta records, surpassed by 82.3 degrees F in 1952 and 81.4 degrees F set last year in June 2010. Temperature records in Athens, Alma, Savannah, Valdosta and Augusta were also in the top ten Junes in their histories.

Numerous daily record high temperatures were broken this month. Columbus broke four daily records and tied three more, including 101 degrees F on June 1 and 3, breaking old records of 98 F and 99 F, set respectively in 1998 and 1985. Macon set their a daily record maximum temperature of 103 F on the third, breaking the old record of 102 F set in 1985. Alma set new daily temperature records on six different days, including a reading of 103 F on the 15th which broke the old record of 100 F set in 1981.

The NWS office in Savannah noted that their new daily maximum temperature record of 102 F on the 13th (breaking the old record of 100 F set in 1880) was the warmest it has been in Savannah since July 20, 2000.

Precipitation in June was scattered due to pup-up thunderstorms on many days during the month. The wettest areas were in northern Georgia and in the southeastern part of the state, where showers helped firefighters control the large fires near the Okefenokee Swamp that have been burning since late April.


The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 7.09 inches in Savannah (1.60 inches above normal) and the lowest was in Augusta at 1.98 inches (2.07 below normal). Valdosta received 3.50 inches (1.86 below normal), Athens 2.44 inches (1.50 inches above normal), Alma 3.11 (2.38 below normal), Columbus 2.64 (0.87 below normal), Macon 2.76 (0.78 below normal), Brunswick 3.86 (1.19 below normal) and Atlanta 2.20 (1.43 inches below normal).


The highest single-day rainfall from CoCoRaHS stations was 5.63 inches in Chatham County on Tybee Island on June 30. Another nearby observer on Wilmington Island reported 4.26 inches on the same day. The same Tybee Island observer had the highest monthly rainfall amount of 10.08 inches, followed by 8.65 inches in Rabun Gap (Rabun County) and 8.44 inches on Wilmington Island.

Severe weather was reported somewhere in the state on 25 days in June. There were no tornadoes reported in the month, but scattered hail and wind damage and power outages were observed at locations around the state. Lightning struck a building during AthFest in Athens on the 24th during an outdoor concert. Fortunately, no one was injured, although brick on the facade rained down into the street. The widest outbreaks of wind and hail were reported on June 15 and 26.

Drought covered over 85 percent of the state by the end of June, up from 81 percent at the start of the month. The drought increased in strength significantly in spite of scattered showers, so that when June ended the percent of the state in exceptional drought went from zero to over 40 percent, all in the southern half of the state. Rural cities like Doerun and Dawson in southwestern Georgia were running out of drinking water due to the low groundwater levels.

Soil moisture conditions across Georgia declined slightly during the month, as the lack of rainfall and high daytime temperatures accelerated evapotranspiration and stressed plants in spite of scattered showers. Farmers switched from peanuts to cotton or soybeans due to the dry soils and late planting conditions. Herds were being culled due to lack of forage and expensive feed.


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