The recent drought has been the furthest thing from the minds of most people in the area lately. Rain has fallen nearly every day for the past week, replenishing the water table, but according to forecasters, the wet weather won't last long.
While it was here, the rain left its mark. According to the National Weather Service, 8.7 inches of rain fell in the month of June. That's five inches above normal for the month. Each day between June 21 and 27 measurable precipitation fell in the area.
Crews work to replace a power pole snapped during a weekend storm.
Photo by Jim Wallace
The cause of this wet weather is an abnormal summer weather pattern, according to Frank Taylor, data acquisition manager for the Atlanta office of the National Weather Service. He said an upper level low pressure area over the Great Lakes has sent storm after storm through the southeast over the past few weeks.
"It's been one little disturbance after the other that forms and just sort of travels that route," Mr. Taylor said. "They're just coming over our area, and that low that is entrenched is just slow to get out."
According to Mr. Taylor, the recent weather pattern -- although unusual -- is more of a spring pattern than a summer one. The majority of spring was dry for much of east central Georgia, but this spring-like pattern has been making up the difference in a short time frame.
WRDW Chief Meteorologist Bob Smith said that normally a high pressure system centered over the Bermuda area extends over Georgia and South Carolina. This customary summer pattern causes very spotty thunder showers.
He added that the current low pressure system over Eastern Canada has pushed a sub-tropical high across Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. This causes moist air from the gulf to flow through our area, increasing the amount of rain the area receives.
"If you want to put it in very simple terms, the wind flow aloft at about 25,000 feet has been unusually strong," Mr. Smith said. "Usually during the summertime the winds are fairly variable and very light under that high pressure."
The rain-soaked pattern isn't likely to stick around much longer, according to Mr. Smith. He said it's too unstable to last, even though the computer models have projected it moving on for at least the past couple of weeks.
"It's been a stubborn pattern, and it is just now showing signs of changing a little bit," Mr. Taylor said.
"Eventually it will lift out, so we're looking at long-term maybe getting back into a semi drought as we head into next month," Mr. Smith said. "This is such an unusual weather pattern that it cannot sustain itself all summer long."
Mr. Taylor said the extra rain fall has been helpful to farmers, but the National Weather Service still lists the area in the midst of a severe drought. Mr. Smith added that the extra rain has diminished the short-term drought, and the high amount of rainfall from last year has kept the long-term drought affects relatively low.