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Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 11:04am

Lanier Levels at Lowest Since 2009

Lake Lanier has dropped to a level it hasn't been at since a two-year drought ended in 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported.

Data from the Corps showed the North Georgia reservoir stood at 1,066.87 feet above sea level on Sunday. Summer full pool is 1,071 feet above sea level. Georgia Power reported the lake at 1,066.81 feet early Monday.

The last time the lake was reported at a lower elevation was Sept. 20, 2009, when the level was 1,065.55 feet.

The lake rose to 1,067.31 feet the next day and stayed on an increasing course until topping 1,071 feet on Oct. 14, 2009.

Lack of rainfall, particularly in South Georgia, is pushing lake levels down. Lake Lanier is part of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin, which includes south Georgia lakes and flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S Drought Monitor shows that most of south Georgia is in extreme drought. Portions of the state, including the Savannah area, have the label "exceptional drought."

Hall County has abnormally dry conditions, while some counties in the North Georgia mountains have normal conditions, the Drought Monitor said.

The National Weather Service has forecast a chance of rain and thunderstorms through the week.