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Rain is not enough; forecast isn't helping

POSTED: October 27, 2007 5:05 a.m.

Despite widespread rain across the state Monday and as much as a 70 percent chance of rain today, forecasters expect the precipitation to have little effect on Lake Lanier’s water level.

Monday, after a day of mist and dark clouds, only .13 inches of rain fell in Gainesville by 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service’s Web site.

Stephen Konarik, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Peachtree City, had predicted there would be no more than a quarter- to a half-inch of rain.

Konarik said there needs to be at least an inch of rain to benefit Lake Lanier’s water levels.

"There’s a chance it’ll do some good," Konarik said. "If it’s raining it’s going to keep that water from at least evaporating out. But not much — not much good is expected to come from this."

The low pressure causing the rain has been forecasted to stall over Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, keeping the heavy rainfall just west of Georgia. If the low pressure pushed closer to Georgia, then Gainesville would have a better chance at more rainfall, Konarik said.

"A lot of the heavy rain is going to stay to our west, over Alabama and Mississippi," Konarik said. "It’s not going to have a lot of luck pushing eastward into Georgia."

There are also strong thunderstorms over the Florida Gulf coast that are keeping the strong southerly winds that are necessary for heavy rainfall from reaching northern Georgia, Konarik said.

"When thunderstorms form down there, it blocks that moisture from coming up into our area," Konarik said "So we would need those thunderstorms to dissipate so we can get a nice southerly flow into the northern part of the state."

The weather service forecasts rain throughout the week, with the chance of precipitation falling throughout the week. Konarik said the weather should be completely dry by the weekend.

Right now, Atlanta is 16.83 inches below normal rainfall levels, and Athens is 16.16 inches below normal rainfall levels for the year. The weather service does not keep deficit records for Gainesville, Konarik said.



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