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Cool start to week following rainy weekend

POSTED: March 25, 2013 12:33 a.m.
Tom Reed/The Times

Drew Brown, top, and Nicolas Martinello take a break Sunday from rowing at the Lanier Sprints at the Olympic Venue at Clarks Bridge Park.

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A rainy weekend ushered in cooler temperatures to start the first full week of spring.

Ahead of a cold front, 2 inches of rain fell between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Some of that rain came in short bursts, including one-third of an inch in one hour early Sunday. For many residents, hard rains accompanied overnight, bed-shaking thunderstorms.

The weather canceled several outdoor events, including the grand opening at Cool Springs Park, 5579 Cool Springs Road; the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Easter egg hunt at the Midtown Greenway; and the Little League parade for the Gainesville Parks and Recreation baseball and softball teams.

The rain is benefiting Lake Lanier, however.

The lake had reached 1,069.16 feet above sea level, or less than a foot below the winter full pool of 1,070 feet, as of 10:15 p.m. Sunday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers switches to the summer full pool of 1,071 feet on May 1.

That level could go higher today and Tuesday as officials have said the full impact on Lake Lanier from runoff into creeks and streams is not seen for up to two days.

The last time the lake was this high was in June 2011. In that year, the lake had topped 1,070 feet by March 25 and had stayed at or above winter full pool for nearly a couple of months.

However, the lake peaked that year at 1,071.88 feet on April 19. Water levels then began dropping steadily, falling to 1,057.9 feet by Nov. 14, 2011. Lanier rebounded somewhat in 2012, before draining again — this time to 1,056.33 feet in December.

Lanier’s historic low is 1,050.79 feet on Dec. 27, 2007.

The lake has gone up nearly 13 feet in three months, and the Hall County area has been out of drought since Feb. 5.

Overall, conditions have improved statewide.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, conditions in Middle and South Georgia range from abnormally dry to severe drought. However, for months, those areas had been suffering from worse categories, extreme or exceptional.

The next few days in the Hall County area should be dry, according to the National Weather Service.

The outlook calls for partly cloudy to mostly sunny through Friday, with the temperature slowly creeping up through the week.

The high today and Tuesday is expected to be in the 40s, with gusty winds particularly on Tuesday, but the mercury should rise to 62 by Saturday.


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