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Hall County drought worsens. Here’s what that means

The Hall County area is now in severe drought, upgraded from moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

That means streams are drying up, rivers are low and crops are “stressed,” according to the Nebraska-based agency.

The National Weather Service forecast on Thursday, Sept. 26, showed only a slight chance of thunderstorms a few times over the next week.

Otherwise, expect sunny to mostly sunny skies and temperatures reaching the low 90s.

Weather officials are calling current conditions a “flash drought,” or a sudden, intense combination of hot, dry weather. Temperatures have been steamy in September, and rain has been scarce — droplets on car windshields, if that much.

It’s all a reversal of the heavy rains that fell on the area earlier this year.

Linda MacGregor, director of Gainesville Water Resources, spoke Thursday to Gainesville City Council about Lake Lanier water levels, saying they spiked early in 2019, but now it’s a different story.

Levels are “dropping like a rock,” she said. “ … Basically, I think it’s as simple as if we have a wet winter, we’ll be good. And if we have a dry winter, we’re going to go into 2020 with low lake levels.”

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Lanier’s level at the end of Wednesday, Sept. 25, was 1,068.06 feet above sea level, or nearly 3 feet below the full pool level. Lanier reached as high as 1,076.1 feet on Feb. 24.

The National Weather Service said 8.67 inches of rain fell in February. The normal amount is 5.1 inches.

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