Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Atlanta, GA

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Drought Information Statement for North and Central Georgia
National Weather Service Peachtree City GA
431 PM EDT Thu Feb 15 2018

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS IMPROVE ACROSS THE STATE...
...ABNORMALLY DRY TO MODERATE DROUGHT REMAIN OVER PORTIONS OF
NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA...


SYNOPSIS...

Recent heavy rainfall has greatly improved the short term drought
conditions over Georgia. Particularly over the last seven days, an
active weather pattern provided persistent wet conditions over the
area, resulting in one to two category drought improvements over
portions of the state. These weather systems were impacting the area
every 4 to 7 days, and lasting 1-3 days at a time. As Drought
Information Statements were only initiated two weeks ago, with only
one issuance for this drought period, Statements will continue
through February and into early March, or longer if the Severe
Drought redevelops.


SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS.
Recent rainfall over the last two weeks, heavy across portions of
the state, has resulted in improved soil moisture conditions over
the state. The shallow moisture profile ranges from Wet to
Excessively Wet due to the high rainfall amounts. The deeper soil
moisture profile has improved to Near Normal over most of the area,
except in portions of the upper Chattahoochee River basin, including
Lake Lanier and its headwaters, which falls in the Extreme Drought
soil moisture category. These categories do not adequately reflect
rainfall over the last five days, as they were generated on February
10.

The official Drought Monitor has removed Severe Drought conditions
in Georgia entirely. Moderate Drought continues over northwest
Georgia, generally north and west of a line from Rockmart, to
Redbud, to Eton. Abnormally Dry conditions surround the Moderate
Drought area, but were scaled back to now include areas north of a
line from Carrollton to Lawrenceville, to Lula, to Hiawassee.

A second Moderate Drought area continues in west central Georgia,
generally an area bordered by a line from Columbus, to Thomaston, to
Fort Valley, to Albany and back to Columbus. Surrounding this region
is an area of Abnormally Dry conditions that covers most of
middle/central Georgia, except for an area of no drought conditions
in portions of the southern Oconee River basin.

RIVER AND STREAM FLOW CONDITIONS.
Average stream flows for the last 14-days are running normal to much
above normal - generally 38 to 99 percent of normal streamflow
across a large portion of the state. The lowest streamflows were in
isolated pockets of central Georgia where streamflows ranged from 9
to 22 percent of normal. Real-time ground water conditions have
improved from two weeks ago, but locations in northwest Georgia and
over central Georgia were only reporting less than 10 to 24 percent
of normal. Please note that creeks and smaller rivers can change
quickly due to runoff from heavy rain if it occurs.

FIRE DANGER HAZARDS.
The latest fire danger assessment indicates a Low Risk over portions
of northeast Georgia, near Lake Lanier. The remainder of north
Georgia and the Atlanta metro area are in a Low to Moderate Risk.
South of a line from West Point, to Macon, to Athens is included in
a High Risk. Please note that this assessment can change rapidly due
to changes in moisture levels and rainfall received.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

Over the last two weeks, 0.50 to 10 inches of rainfall have occurred
over north and central Georgia. The highest rainfall totals were
observed over large portions of north Georgia, generally north of a
line from Carrollton, to Atlanta, to Homer. This area received 4 to
10 inches of rainfall, or 150 to 400 percent of normal. Isolated
pockets of the higher elevations of northeast Georgia received
upwards of 10 inches, or 400 percent of normal. High rainfall
amounts were also observed in southwest and portions of west central
Georgia, south of Columbus, and generally west and southwest of
Americus. This area received 4 to 5 inches of rainfall, or 200 to
300 percent of normal.

The area that received the least amount of rainfall was generally a
band over middle and eastern Georgia, south of a line from Hamilton
to Jackson, to Valdosta, and north of a line f22300rom Columbus, to
Hawkinsville, to Lyons. In this area rainfall amounts ranged from
0.5 to 3 inches, or 75 to 125 percent of normal.

Given that portions of the state have been affected by the short
term drought, the following table has been provided below. This
indicates the total rainfall and departures for the last 90 days.

Location    Total Rainfall   Normal    Departure     Percent
               90 Days       Value    from Normal   of Normal

ATLANTA         12.77        12.48       +0.29        102%
ATHENS          12.35        11.88       +0.47        104%
COLUMBUS         7.05        12.43       -5.38         57%
MACON            8.32        12.13       -3.81         69%
CARTERSVILLE    11.08        13.32       -2.24         83%
NE ATLANTA       9.41        13.35       -3.94         70%
WEST ATLANTA     9.24        12.65       -3.41         73%
GAINESVILLE     10.37        14.28       -3.91         73%
PEACHTREE CITY  10.75        12.47       -1.72         86%
ROME            11.76        14.01       -2.25         84%


HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

Current lake levels at several USACE Projects have risen
significantly since the last Statement. Projects ranged from -2 feet
low at Thurmond to nearly 11 feet above seasonal pool at Allatoona
and Carters. The elevation at Lake Lanier, nearly 1070 feet, is the
highest elevation observed since May 2016.

After these recently observed rises, most projects are expected to
level out around seasonal pool levels. Thurmond and Hartwell are
expected to rise over the next four weeks. The USACE will try to
maintain winter pool levels to provide flood storage through the
spring, and have been used in the table below for reference. At this
point in the year, the USACE projects will be in the final months of
winter pool levels, or will begin filling lakes to their summer pool
elevations, depending on their locations.

Lake        Winter Pool   Current Level   Departure
                             (7 AM)        in feet
Allatoona       826          836.09       +10.99
Carters        1072         1082.90       +10.90
Hartwell        656          656.04        +0.04
Lanier         1070         1069.99        -0.01
Thurmond        327          325.43        -1.57
West Point      628          630.75        +2.75

Additional lake levels are available at the link provided in the
RELATED WEBSITES section below.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

For the rest of February...the outlook for north and central Georgia
is for above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for
north Georgia and equal chances for the rest of the state.

90 Day Outlook...for March through May...above normal temperatures
and generally equal chances of above or below normal precipitation
are expected. Above normal precipitation chances are expected for
north Georgia.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...

The next Drought Information Statement is scheduled for Thursday,
March 1, 2018.

&&

RELATED WEBSITES...

Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following websites:

NWS WFO Atlanta:  www.weather.gov/atlanta
NWS WFO Atlanta - Drought Resources: weather.gov/ffc/raindef
NWS WFO Atlanta - Lake Levels: weather.gov/ffc/rrm
NOAA AHPS - Rainfall Totals: water.weather.gov/precip
U.S. Drought Portal: www.drought.gov
U.S. Drought Monitor: www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu
Climate Prediction Center: www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
Office of the Georgia State Climatologist:
    epd.georgia.gov/office-state-climatologist
U.S. Geological Survey - Water Resources of Georgia:
    ga.water.usgs.gov
Georgia Forestry Commission - Fire Weather Assessments:
    weather.gfc.state.ga.us/maps/fdf1.gif


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...

This data was furnished by the National Weather Service in
cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Georgia State
Climatologist in Atlanta, the Georgia Environmental Protection
Division, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Current Fire Danger
Assessments were provided by the Georgia Forestry COmmission.


QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...

If you have any questions or comments about this Drought Information
Statement, please contact:

NWS WFO Atlanta
4 Falcon Drive Peachtree City, GA 30269
Phone: 770-486-1133
Email: sr-ffc.webmaster@noaa.gov

$$

Belanger



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