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Forecast says rain today, dry weekend

No end in sight for record drought

POSTED: October 22, 2007 5:04 a.m.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service predicted great weather for North Georgia today — a 90 percent chance of rain.

"Most everybody should see at least a half an inch," National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Beasley said. "Everybody through most of the state should be getting some rain."

Isolated thunderstorms were predicted to roll through the area last night, and the rain is likely to continue through the morning and into the afternoon hours today, Beasley said.

He said that there will also be about a 30 percent chance for additional showers and thunderstorms tonight, but rainfall is not predicted to be as widespread as earlier in the day. The National Weather Service reports that rainfall deficits across North Georgia for this year are currently at 15 to 16 inches below the 30-year average.

And as of Wednesday, Lake Lanier levels are at 1,056.93, 0.19 feet lower than Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Beasley said that the last bit of rainfall in the area was on Oct. 9 and measured a half inch.

Pam Knox, assistant state climatologist, said that with such great rainfall deficits, a half inch of rain over the next day would put the deficit at about 15.5 inches rather than 16 inches.

"We’re not even close (to the drought being over) ... and October is usually the driest month of the year," she said.

The rain should make its exit by Saturday.

The National Weather Service forecast a clear, sunny weekend. Temperatures for Saturday and Sunday are predicted to be in the high 70s to the low 50s.

"By Friday afternoon, it should be drying out and that should be it for the weekend until Monday," Beasley said.

But there is a potential for some more storms next week, he said. "We’re not quite sure on the timing yet," he added.

Thursday’s cold front comes to North Georgia from the Midwest and the Ohio Valley. Beasley said it’s the Midwest that will feel the brunt of this system and could see severe weather such as tornadoes as a result. The system could also bring severe thunderstorms to Northwest Georgia, he said.

"There is a threat of isolated tornadoes in Northwest Georgia," he said, "one to two at the most, if any."

Beasley said that the southeast part of the state, near Savannah and Albany, is predicted to receive the heaviest rainfall with up to three inches of rain.

But forecasters say more than one good rain will be needed to reverse the current drought.

"We’ll take every drop we can get," Knox said, "but I don’t expect more than short term relief."



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