Georgia Drought Update – Lake Levels – November 4 2011

After a very wet September around the Cataula area [ 8.33 inches ] , October came to an end being very dry [ 1.36 inches ]. Columbus officially had 3.56 inches in September and 0.72 inches in October. As of October 27 2011, Columbus has a deficit of -9.59 inches of precipitation. The normal amounts of precipitation for Columbus in September is 3.06 inches, and 2.58 inches for October. For September and October, Columbus is running a deficit of -1.36 inches. The normal amount for rain in November is 2.58 inches. We’ll see how we fare.

One benefit over the past couple of months has been the cooler fall temperatures, less sun exposure due to the changing of the season, which lead to less moisture being evaporated form the ground. If Columbus had experienced the same conditions in the middle of summer [ I’m thinking we did this year ] the situation wouldn’t be as good as it is.

As you can see in the image below much of the state is still enduring an ‘Extreme Drought’. There was some improvement during the time frame October 11 to November 1 2011.

As mentioned above, The Columbus area in general is still 9.59 inches in the hole. Here is a graphic showing additional precipitation needed to bring conditions to near normal in the US.

You can expect drought conditions to continue through winter.

On a side note:

One area of focus in my past drought reports over the years was Lake Levels in Georgia. While I to this date can not find a source for water levels at Lake Oliver, I do know where to acquire most of Georgia’s lake levels. I had in the past kept up with this due to most of the lake above Columbus supply our water for everyday use. One thing that has been on my mind lately is, How will drought play into Columbus’ New Whitewater Adventure ? Surely those communities upstream will not sacrifice their water just so some folks can raft down the Hooch, during drought conditions. I know I wouldn’t !! SO how does the city of Columbus intend to keep the flow going when upstream they will not release water during drought ?? I have no idea what amount of water flow were speaking of, but when lake levels are down 12 feet, I don’t think there will be continued adequate water release to support white water rafting. I could be wrong as money has a strange way of changing things. I hope for the sake of enough water to supply the local community with clean drinking and bathing water during drought, I’m wrong.

In a post form January 2009, Lake Lanier which supplies much of Atlanta with water, was down 20 feet from full pool. Consequently many of the lakes south of Lanier also flirted with record low levels due to no water be released form Lanier, including local lakes West Point, Harding, Goat Rock and even Oliver.

Here’s a current picture of low water level at Lake Lanier. More can be viewed here from the drought of 2008.

Image Credit: Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Here are the current lake levels from around the state of Georgia as of 841 AM EDT THU NOV 3 2011 :

As you can see above, Lake Lanier is currently down over 11 feet closing in on 12 feet down. West Point Lake is down Just over 12 feet. Lake Harding is over full pool of 520 at 520′.22, and Goat Rock is also above full pool of 400 at 401′.39.

And here are the projected water levels of select lakes through December 2 2011 as of 11/1/2011 :

So I wonder in the back of my mind how drought will impact Columbus’ White Water Adventure – LINK to official Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau Raft Columbus GA., “The longest urban whitewater course in the world.” The Rush starts in 21 Months 27 Days 10 Hours, as of this post.

Here’s an excerpt from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Lake Lanier Tuesday, November 1, 2011, hit the link below for full article.

With Lanier water level dropping, hazard buoys are put in place

Lake Lanier continues to drop at a rate of about a foot a week as the Army Corps of Engineers steps up water releases to keep stream levels up in a drought.

As of Tuesday the lake, Atlanta’s getaway body of water located about 40 miles north of downtown, was down 12 feet from the last time it was at full pool in May.

It’s predicted the level will drop another 2 feet by the end of the month, so much so that the annual Lanier Parade of Lights — where boats take to the water at night in early December in a flotilla with Christmas lights — has been canceled.

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