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Rain behind us, cooler temps on the way
Lake Lanier rose slightly after rainfall
City of Gainesville employees Frank Hood, left, and James Coleman push leaves to be vacuumed into the street in the Lakeshore Heights neighborhood Wednesday morning. Their work was just ahead of storms that blew through the Hall County area ahead of a cold front.

After a wet Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather is expected to turn cooler for a few days.

Storms blew through the Hall County area Wednesday, ahead of a cold front, dumping more than an inch of rain on the area.

"We need all the help we can get on that," State Climatologist Bill Murphey said Wednesday.

The storm's impact on quickly falling Lake Lanier, helped by steady rain overnight Tuesday, was immediate, if not drastic. The elevation rose to 1,058.07 feet above sea level Wednesday afternoon from 1,057.9 feet Tuesday evening.

Officials have said the full impact of a heavy rainfall typically isn't known for 24 to 48 hours as rainfall makes its way to creeks and tributaries to the lake, which is 13 feet below the full pool of 1,071 feet.

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City predicted Wednesday that cool, dry weather should linger in the area through Sunday. Temperatures are expected to rebound into the 60s by Sunday and climb to 71 by Tuesday.

A 20 percent chance for rain is expected Monday and Tuesday, according to the weather service.

Looking long range, Georgia could be in for drier, slightly warmer weather, thanks to a La Nina weather pattern, Murphey said.

"We can get some cold snaps come in during the wintertime, but what the La Nina forecast implies is we should start warming back up toward the tail end of winter, with the colder months being December and January," Murphey said.

A possible twist in the weather outlook is the chance for an 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," Murphey said. "I wouldn't say (conditions will be) completely bone dry during the whole winter period."

Those quick weather changes are harder to forecast.

"Usually, two to three weeks out is the best you can do on those," Murphey said.

Most of Georgia has been in a drought for most of 2011, with Hall County having a rainfall deficit of nearly a foot.

South Georgia has been particularly hard hit, as that region is mostly in severe to extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor's Nov. 10 report.

The map shows Hall County in conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor will update its weekly report today based on data collected through 7 a.m. Tuesday.