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Friday, February 8, 2013 - 9:15am

Northeast Georgia Out Of Drought

Northeast Georgia counties are no longer in drought thanks to the recent rains. Central Georgia still faces the worst drought conditions.

State Climatologist Bill Murphey says the latest drought monitor took northeast Georgia out of drought completely.

“Hall County has received about 6 to 8 inches of rain in the last three days. So that put them pretty much in the clear for the time being, as well as the surrounding counties adjacent and to the north.” he says.

Pat Robbins with the US Army Corps of Engineers says they have had to release less water from the lakes along the Chattahoochee, Flint, Apalachicola river basin.

He says “Rains have helped the whole system. But we’re still operating in drought conditions because the cumulative storage throughout the basin has not gotten up into zone 1, which is where we would come out of drought operations.”

Robbins says they have had to release less water from the reservoirs along the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola River basin. That’s allowed lake levels to rise.

“Lake Lanier, which has gone up about 7 feet in the last 30 to 45 days. West Point is actually above normal for this time of year. Walter F. George, or Lake Eufaula is also above where it would normally be this time of year.”

But State Climatologist Bill Murphey says central and southern Georgia are still in severe to exceptional drought.

He says “Stream flow systems when you get south across central parts of the state especially southwest Georgia in the Flint River basin where you need to bring more fresh water down toward Apalachicola Bay, that still needs some help.”

But Murphey says even those areas benefited from the rains.

“In the Flint River basin, around the Macon area, Macon had 2.25 inches. Augusta had 3.1 inches. Even Savannah got in on the action at a little over an inch of rain. So the Oconee basin had some help. The Flint River basin got some help.”he says.

And Murphey says another storm system is headed toward central Georgia next Monday and Tuesday which could further help ease drought conditions. But he warns that system could also lead to some flash flooding in northern Georgia next week.

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