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Recent rain raises Lake Lanier by nearly 9 inches
Before this week's rain, there was a 6-inch deficit for the area
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Lake Lanier is up nearly 9 inches since Monday, thanks to steady and occasional hard rain this week.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that Lanier was at 1,068.66 feet above sea level Wednesday evening. That's up from 1,067.79 feet at 8 a.m. Monday, the lowest point since Sept. 21, 2009.

Two inches of rain fell at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville between Monday morning and early Wednesday, with 1.36 inches falling after Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Tuesday's weather system spawned a tornado that struck an estimated 56 homes and one business in Buford. One person was killed when suspected wind gusts from the storm caused a tree to fall on his car.

Complete runoff into the lake after any rain event usually takes 24 to 48 hours, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials have said.

So, the full impact of this week's rain may not be felt until later today or Friday.

On average, 2010 has been a dry year. Before this week's rain, the area had a 6-inch rainfall deficit.

The summer full pool is 1,071 feet. Winter full pool, which took effect Wednesday, is 1,070 feet. The last time the lake was at either level was Aug. 25.

Forecasters have said wet weather could be more of an exception in coming months, as a La Niña atmosphere pattern is in play for the eastern U.S. That system could last into the spring.

Drier weather is in the outlook for the next few days, at least. Clear and sunny skies are expected to dominate.

However, there is a "slight chance of sprinkles" on Sunday, according to a National Weather Service forecast on Wednesday.