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Drought status eases to mild; more rain expected today
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Updated forecast

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The Lake Lanier basin has improved to mild drought status due to recent rains, according to the state climatologist, and today’s forecast predicts more rain is on the way.

Both the Lanier and Lake Hartwell basins previously were in moderate drought, but now are categorized as mild due to lake levels that remain low, said David Stooksbury.

The remainder of the state is drought-free.

"Soil moisture conditions are above normal for the entire state except the north-central and northeast mountain counties," he said. "Soil moisture in these regions is near normal for early May. These counties include the drainage basins for Lanier and Hartwell."

Stooksbury said that stream flows that feed into the lakes are near normal for early May.

Those stream flows likely are to get a little help as forecasters predict a near guarantee of thunderstorms throughout the county today with a 90 percent chance. Rain is likely to continue throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service.

"Pretty much through the weekend expect a chance of rain with Wednesday being the best day of (Hall County residents) seeing rain and thunderstorms," weather service meteorologist Jessica Fieux said.

Adding on to last weekend’s rains, Hall County likely will see three-quarters to an inch of rainfall today.

The current weather pattern has produced numerous short waves of storms that have been weaving through the area since the weekend, Fieux said.

The Weather Service reported more than an inch of rain fell at Gainesville’s Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport on Monday and the chance of rain will continue through the weekend with the slimmest chances of rain, 30 percent, on Friday.

The recent rains have improved North Georgia’s drought situation, with Gainesville receiving 4.95 inches of rainfall in April — 0.95 inches above the 30-year average of 4.06 inches, Fieux said.

Average May rainfall in Gainesville is 4.33 inches, Fieux said.

Stooksbury said May is usually one of the drier months in Georgia, but that doesn’t mean the drought necessarily will worsen.

"As we progress through the summer into the middle of fall, moisture loss from the soil, due to evaporation and plant use, is normally greater than rainfall," he said. "With normal weather over the next several months, Georgians can expect to see a drying of the soils. However, this is normal and does not mean that Georgia is heading back into a drought."