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Weather Channel to visit Lake Lanier
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The Weather Channel will be broadcasting live from Lake Lanier next week as part of the network’s weeklong series from locations across the Southeast affected by the drought.

The series asks the question: What happens when H20 becomes H2-No?

The Weather Channel’s correspondent Julie Martin will be broadcasting live Tuesday from near Habersham Marina in Cumming. The segments will be shown on the network from 7-8 p.m. during Abrams & Bettes – Beyond the Forecast and from 9-11 p.m. during Evening Edition.

Lake Lanier was chosen because it is seen as ground zero for the drought in the Southeast.

"Lake Lanier is a compelling example of what can happen in extreme drought situations," Martin told The Times via e-mail.

"We chose it not only from a meteorological perspective, but also a human perspective. We decided to focus on business owners who are struggling as a result of low water and lack of people."

The segments from Lake Lanier will focus on how businesses around the lake are suffering. Tips segment will emphasize how businesses and industry can save water.

Martin said the long-term forecast for the drought doesn’t look good. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center expects below-average precipitation in the region through spring.

"If so, that means that the drought could actually worsen, as we are currently in a massive precipitation deficit," Martin said. "None of the (Climate Prediction Center’s) predictions currently predict a wetter-than-average period during 2008.

"Skill in predicting long-range weather like this is very low. It’s not like making day-to-day forecasts."

So what would it take to return Lake Lanier to its full pool level of 1,070 feet above sea level?

Martin said that according to The Weather Channel’s Greg Forbes, a rough estimate is that the region would have to get a 10- to 20-inch rainfall surplus to refill the lake. Just getting normal rainfall isn’t going to do the job.

Last year, the rainfall deficit for the year exceeded 20 inches in Hall County.

The entire series runs during the same time frame Monday through Friday on The Weather Channel.