State Climatologist Bill Murphey says the rain over Christmas and New Year’s helped ease drought conditions in northern Georgia. But he says central and southern Georgia didn’t see much benefit from the storms.
Authorities say Lake Lanier has risen higher than 1,058 feet above sea level for the first time since Nov. 23. The lake northeast of Atlanta has been steadily rising since Dec. 19, when it had fallen to its lowest level since Jan. 16, 2009. At that time, the region was in a fierce two-year drought.
Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall Monday morning and threatens to snarl traffic on Memorial Day. The storm is bringing drenching rain, winds and the possibility of flooding to the Georgia coast. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm made landfall in Florida early Monday near Jacksonville Beach.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge had dropped to near record lows because of prolonged drought, but National Weather Service maps showed that five or more inches of rain fell in some areas in and near the Okefenokee.
Recent rains have helped to replenish the water level at Lake Lanier, a main drinking water source and recreation area for metro Atlantans. The Times of Gainesville reports that Lake Lanier's water level is the highest it has been since early November.
The National Weather Service says there's a chance of severe storms hitting north and central Georgia. A storm system was moving into the state on Tuesday. Severe thunderstorms could sweep through metro Atlanta Tuesday night as cooler air collides with the warm air mass that sent pre-Thanksgiving temperatures to record levels.
Twisters and heavy rains were the result of slow-moving remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that pushed through the northern portion of Georgia. State emergency officials say nearly 100 homes were damaged in north Georgia’s Cherokee County from severe weather that moved through Monday.
Georgia's state climatologist says extreme drought conditions have now spread into north Georgia and cover most of the state south of the mountains. Climatologist David Stooksbury says all of Georgia's counties are now classified as being in moderate, severe or extreme drought.
The Army Corps of Engineers has raised the drought level on three lakes on the Georgia-South Carolina state line. The Anderson Independent-Mail reported that corps officials have reduced water discharges from the three reservoirs on the Savannah River.
Fire information officers say rain helped slow the huge Honey Prairie Fire on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge during the weekend. Rich Phelps, an information officer for the Okefenokee fires, says the area received up to half an inch of rain on Saturday.