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Thursdays rain wont help in long run
A pedestrian walks along Jesse Jewell Parkway as showers move through the area Thursday afternoon bringing much needed rain.

Drizzle, apparently, doesn’t amount to much. Though Gainesville stayed under the shadow of cloudy skies and light rainfall for most of the day Thursday, the city accumulated a mere half inch of the much needed precipitation.

And the forecast doesn’t get much better.

"We’re not expecting any rain over the weekend," said Robert Beasley, a meteorologist with The National Weather Service in Peachtree City. "We might have a few showers (Friday morning), but that should be the end of it for a few days."

In reality, the forecast doesn’t look much better for the entire summer.

Though, meteorologists say they expect more rainfall this summer than last, their predictions are subjective and could easily go either way.

"The three-month outlook, basically June, July and August, is for below-normal temperatures and normal or above-normal rainfall," said Sean Ryan, another meteorologist in the same office with Beasley.

That sounds good, but it doesn’t really mean much.

"It’s not necessarily saying normal," Ryan said. "They have us equal chances for above or below normal. It’s uncertain."

Year-to-date rainfall for various metro Atlanta areas is no better this year than last, Ryan said.

"In Athens we’re 5 inches below normal for the year. We’re still definitely in a drought." he said. "The only spot in our forecast area that has had above normal rainfall is Columbus and that’s only because of a rain storm that dumped of rain and caught them up."

Nevertheless, Ryan said the general feeling is this summer will be cooler and potentially wetter than the last one.

And while temperatures don’t directly affect precipitation, cooler is still better than hotter.

"It keeps the drought from getting worse," Ryan said. "We won’t necessarily be having ... weeks of temperatures in excess of 100 degrees (like last year)."

In regard to Lake Lanier, it’s more of the same uncertainty.

In a recent visit to Gainesville, the director of the state Environmental Protection Division, Carol Couch, said while Lanier had improved, it was near its highest point for 2008.

"I believe the lake level you’re seeing right now may go up inches, to a foot, but from here out, this is the normal time the lake starts decreasing elevation because of the warm weather," Couch said. "What you’re seeing is probably the high level for this year."

Ryan shared those sentiments.

"I wouldn’t anticipate any significant rises," he said. "Generally in the summer months, a lot more of the water that falls as rain is absorbed by vegetation ... so less of it actually drains into the lakes and rivers."

The more immediate future will not see drastic changes in the weather, Ryan said.

The month should finish out with below normal temperatures and only a few chances for rain, he said.

"There’s a 20 percent chance of showers on Sunday, but for the most part ... it’s going to be dry."

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