Weather patterns in Northeast Georgia should usher in more seasonal temperatures this week along with more chances for rainfall.
“We had a wave come through earlier (Monday),” said Bill Murphey, state climatologist, noting Gainesville had received 0.44 of an inch of rain at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport by 4 p.m. “That should help us out in the short term on our drought situation.” By 11 p.m., Gainesville had added only another 0.01 inch of rain.
“There’s a secondary wave behind that with the chance of additional precipitation on Wednesday,” but primarily in Central and South Georgia, Murphey said. “That should help Southwest Georgia and the lower (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint) basin.”
Monday’s rain put Lake Lanier, which is part of the ACF basin, at 1,056.56 feet above sea level, more than 13 feet below winter full pool of 1,070.
High pressure has been keeping Northeast Georgia temperatures unseasonably warm, Murphey said, but the front that brought Monday’s rain should also bring more seasonable temperatures.
“There are 40s and 50s in North Alabama, where the front is coming from,” he said. “North Georgia temperatures hadn’t started dropping, but we should see more seasonal temperatures” behind the front.
“We’ve been dominated by a high pressure ridge, and we had southerly flow,” Murphey said. “We’ve had what we call meteorologically warm return flow from the Gulf (of Mexico).
“Where we had more east to west movement (of weather patterns), we’re getting more north to south movement.
“Over the next six to 10 days, people will need a jacket, as winter tries to work in there,” he said.
The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures in the mid-50s this week, with lows in the mid- to high 30s before creeping into the low to mid-40s by the weekend.
Murphey said temperatures south of the front could remain in the 70s, but “there’s cooler air coming in behind it. The colder, more frigid air in the Central Plains, we’ll see some modification in that by the time it gets here.”
Georgia’s weather is in neutral conditions, Murphey said, with neither La Niña nor El Ni Niño a factor. That should continue into spring, he said.
Extreme North Georgia should have above normal rainfall over the next 90 days, Murphey said.
“We could see some decent amounts of rainfall,” he said of an area that includes most of Hall County.
“We’re just coming out of our dry season,” Murphey said, “Climatologically, (late fall) is a dry season.”
While conditions are favorable for more precipitation in the next few months, Murphey cautioned that the number of variables make long-term forecasting difficult.
Storms like Monday’s “are only short-term helpers. We have to look and see how these systems develop to see if they give us any long-term help on our drought situation,” he said.
“You could see some improvements in some areas in that Northern (Georgia) area in this week’s Drought Monitor,” Murphey said.