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Teasing rain could help lake a little bit
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While the rain trickled down Sunday afternoon, it proved to be just a tease.

As of Sunday afternoon, Gainesville had received only .04 inches of rain at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport, while Atlanta received .12 inches. There were also some sprinkles Saturday evening that did not measure at the airport.

"It’s just been so light that it’s not really making totals go up much," said National Weather Service forecaster Stephen Konarik.

But with the National Weather Service calling for an 80 percent chance of showers today, expected primarily in the morning, Konarik said Sunday and today’s combined precipitation could add up to as much as an inch. He added that there’s a good chance for isolated thunderstorms in the Gainesville area today.

These smatterings of rain won’t end the drought, but they could keep lake levels from plunging further.

"If we get what we’re thinking we’ll get through (today), an inch to a half an inch, it may be able to at least stop the lakes from dropping for a few days ... at least temporarily as the waters are flowing into the lakes," Konarik said.

Lake Lanier’s water levels have fallen slowly since the lake’s 1981 record low was broken on Nov. 19. Since the water levels at Buford Dam were measured at 1,052.64 feet above sea level last Monday night, which broke the previous record low of 1,052.66, the lake has fallen .6 feet or 7.2 inches. Lake Lanier water levels measured at 1,052.04 feet as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

As Georgia endures the worst drought in decades, North Georgia suffers in particular. This year, the northern third of the state has received 15 to 20 inches less rain than it averages.

The National Weather Service doesn’t have data on rainfall deficits in Gainesville. But Athens maintains a 17.91-inch deficit, while Atlanta bears a 19.14-inch deficit.

Konarik said the next opportunity for rain will come Thursday. The National Weather Service predicts a 20 percent chance of showers for Gainesville.