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Rains have lake on rebound somewhat
Weather service forecasts half an inch of rain today
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At one time, Lake Lanier was dropping by nearly a foot and a half every two weeks.

Lanier had dropped to 1,057.91 feet above sea level on Nov. 14, the lowest it had been since March 2009, or during a drought that had started in 2007.

But the lake's downward course has reversed, thanks to some plentiful late fall and early winter rains.

Lanier stood Monday at 1,059.22 feet — still nearly 11 feet below the winter full pool of 1,070 feet, but the highest it has been since early November.

At one point, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had predicted the lake would be at 1,056.5 feet by early December.

Also likely helping the situation is the corps agreeing in late November to a request by Georgia's Environmental Protection Division to reduce the amount of water it sends from Buford Dam in Gwinnett County.

"This increased storage, while not significant at this time, could prove very beneficial to the system if the La Niña weather pattern persists as predicted," corps spokesman Pat Robbins said at the time.

In a La Niña, weather tends to be drier and warmer than normal.

Over the past couple of months, the drought also has improved in Hall County.

A swath of North Hall has normal conditions, while the rest of the county ranges from abnormally dry to moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Most of Georgia, particularly middle and southern parts, are still in extreme drought.

Those assessments are based, however, on data collected through 7 a.m. last Tuesday.

The newest report, issued Thursday, could show a much improved situation, at least for Hall County, as much of last week was soggy from downpours.

About one-fifth of an inch fell on Christmas Day at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville, according to the National Weather Service in Atlanta.

As much as half an inch of rain also is in the outlook for today, according to the weather service.

But then a drying and clearing period will take place. Sunny skies are predicted through New Year's Day, with the high expected to be close to 60 on Jan. 1.


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