Climatologist says outlook improving for rain in Fayette
Tue, 12/11/2012 - 1:48pm John Munford
Precipitation needed for thirsty Fayette lakes
Despite Monday’s steady and at times heavy rains, Fayette County is not about to magically pop out of the drought conditions plaguing Georgia.
Just over an inch of rain was recorded Monday at Falcon Field Airport in Peachtree City, and state Climatologist Bill Murphey is hopeful that more rain will be coming in the next three months as the state exits the La Nina weather pattern in favor of a more neutral pattern.
The good news is that Monday’s rain could provide some benefit to streams and also the county’s water reservoirs which have been significantly lower than normal by a matter of feet ... not inches.
“Short-term-wise we could have a little benefit from yesterday’s rain,” Murphey said Tuesday.
There is a storm system developing that could bring more rain to the area in the area of Dec. 17-18, but that could change multiple times in coming days, Murphey said, cautioning that it is a “long-range” forecast.
The hope is for Georgia to get more subtropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over the next three months, as there is a good chance the state will get above-average rainfall that could help recharge streams, reservoirs and the state’s groundwater supply, Murphey said. The metro Atlanta area stands a decent chance of getting such needed rain over the next three months, he added.
Having more rain such as Fayette got Monday would be a big help, Murphey said.
“We need a good many more systems like this to dump some steady and heavier amounts of rain in areas that really need it,” Murphey said.
Most of Fayette County is experiencing the state’s worst “exceptional drought” conditions, with the remainder in the slightly less harrowing“extreme drought” declaration.
Since Jan. 1, the metro Atlanta area has experienced a rain shortfall of about 15 inches, which is “a big deficit,” Murphey said.
The county adopted more stringent outdoor watering restrictions last month in an effort to protect the amount of available drinking water.
Georgia didn’t benefit as much from hurricane related precipitation this fall, though there were some temporary benefits to southeast Georgia that ultimately were whittled away by the continuing drought, Murphey said.