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Cold front brings rain to Georgia
Gainesville receives less than an inch
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ATLANTA - A cold front moving through Georgia brought a sprinkling of overnight rain to the parched northern hills of the state, but it was far from the drenching needed to bust the region out of a record drought.
Gainesville only received three-quarters of an inch of rain, according to records at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport. The rain came a day after the city of Gainesville and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue led a state vigil praying for precipitation. But the governor said Thursday he was not "gloating" about the rainfall, which had been forecast by the National Weather Service a few days ago.
The front brought a "widespread swath of rain" late Wednesday and early Thursday. Few places got more than an inch, said Vaughn Smith, a federal meteorologist.
And while the rain was welcome, Smith said it probably did little to swell the record low lake levels across North Georgia.
"The ground probably sucked it all up," he said. "The ground is so dry, I seriously doubt if any of the lakes rose any."
Georgia and its neighboring states are caught in a drought that threatens public water supplies. The state climatologist has said Georgia needs months of above-average rainfall to make up for it.
Perdue has ordered water restrictions, launched a legal battle against the release of water from federal reservoirs and appealed to President Bush.
On Tuesday, he joined three Protestant ministers in an hourlong event on the steps of the state Capitol asking the heavens for rain.
Perdue, in Canada Thursday on a trade mission, called the brief showers an "affirmation."
"Certainly, we're not gloating about it. We're thankful for the rain and hopefully it's the beginning of more," Perdue said. "One rain won't refill the reservoirs. Frankly, it's great affirmation of what we asked for."
He urged state residents to continue to conserve water, and thanked them for the "spirit" of their prayers.
"As we do all we can from a conservation standpoint, virtually all of us know we are dependent on rain," the governor said. "I am just a person who believes it comes from God."
Regional events