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Wet, cool weather ushers in autumn

Rain doesn't ease drought

POSTED: October 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Although Gainesville's parched soil got a slight reprieve Wednesday, the smattering of rain didn't have much effect on the area's extreme drought conditions.

As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Gainesville has received 1.75 inches of rain since rain showers began during early Wednesday.

"Drought conditions are a long range thing. One day of rain in a month won't really do anything to change drought conditions," said Robert Beasley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

"It might change the short term ground moisture, but that's about it. Now if we get another rainfall in the next two or three days, then we may see some improvement."

The recent rainfall was the first shower that Gainesville has received since Sept. 12, according to the weather service
.
Wednesday's intermittent rain showers also did little to help the ever-shrinking water supply in Lake Lanier.

Water levels in the lake have dropped nearly two feet since the last significant rainfall a month ago.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - the federal agency that oversees the lake - it is not surprising that the lake's water levels have dropped.

Since the last significant rainfall on Sept. 12, Lake Lanier's water levels have dropped from 1,055.26 feet above sea level to Wednesday's reported water level of 1,053.51 feet above sea level. The lake's current water level is more than four feet lower than this time last year.

The full pool level of Lake Lanier is 1,071 feet above sea level, a mark the body of water hasn't reached since September 2005.

"With that amount of rainfall during this period of a drought, that amount of (a water level drop) is to be expected," said Tim Rainey, interim operations project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Lanier.

According to National Weather Service, a lack of rainfall is customary this time of year in Georgia - drought or not.

"We don't have rain in the forecast for another week," Beasley said.

"October is the driest month of the year, so this really isn't anything unusual, climatologically speaking," he said.



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