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Lanier level increases after rain hits earlier this week
Hall has been in drought most of the year
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Lake Lanier has crept up several inches since hard rains fell earlier in the week throughout North Georgia.

The lake stood at 1,058.28 feet above sea level Wednesday, or less than 13 feet below the summer full pool of 1,071 feet. Winter full pool of 1,070 feet becomes effective today.

The elevation had dropped as low as 1,057.91 on Monday before the rains.

Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville recorded 1.23 inches of rain between about 12:53 a.m. Monday and 12:53 a.m. today, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Typically, a rainfall's full impact on the lake isn't known for up to two days afterward because of flows from the many streams and creeks that lead to Lanier.

No rain is in the forecast for the rest of this week but it could return to the region by Sunday night, remaining in the outlook through Tuesday.

Hall County has been in a drought for most of the year, with a rain deficit of about 10 inches.

Hall ranges from moderate to severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which releases an updated report every Thursday.

Looking long range, Georgia could be in for a drier, slightly warmer winter, thanks to a La Niña weather pattern, State Climatologist Bill Murphey has said.

A possible twist in the weather outlook is the chance for a North Atlantic oscillation, a climate situation that occurs when a polar blast of air meets Gulf of Mexico moisture.

"That could give us brief periods of precipitation during the winter," he said.

Climate experts will hold a two-day forum today and Friday at Lake Lanier Islands Resort on the impacts of the current drought on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, of which Lanier is a part.

The lake is heading toward a historic low of 1,050.79 feet, set on Dec. 26, 2007. The dropping levels have taken their toll, exposing shoreline, tree limbs and other objects that were submerged.

A recent decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Lanier, could help keep the lake from reaching that level.

Last week, the corps began restricting the water it lets out of Lanier's Buford Dam by 100 cubic feet per second to 650. One cubic foot is equal to 7.5 gallons. The change in operation was made at the state's request.

Ashley Fielding contributed to this report.

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