It looks like the rainy pattern that we have been in, is not going away anytime soon thanks to a near persistent trough of low pressure covering the eastern half of the nation. Although it will shift, and loose it’s grip on us from time to time, the overall result will lead to above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures. The following chart shows the 500 mb circulation around the northern hemisphere. The big L parked over the Great Lakes is the trough that is currently helping to bring us the unsettled weather of late.
The forecast from the Climate Prediction Center points to this trend continuing as well. Both the 6-10 day, and 8-14 day forecasts call for below normal temperatures and above normal rainfall.
The winner in all of this is the drought situation across north and central Georgia. Since the beginning of the year the percentage of the state that was under extreme drought has been reduced from 49.64% to 6.37% with absolutely zero extreme or exceptional drought showing up in north Georgia. February and March were not kind to us as far as rain is concerned. A combined 4.55″ in that stretch was woefully below normal. Since then we have made up ground with 5.75″ in April and 4.35″ so far this May!
So even though it seems like we can’t get a break from the never ending showers and t-showers, it will be nice to be ahead of the game before the dog days of summer arrive.
The recent rain from this past weekend will undoubtedly help with the drought conditions across north Georgia. Most locations saw between one and two inches of rain with two to three inches in isolated spots.
Leading into this past weekend forty six percent of the state was classified as being in a moderate drought, with thirty eight percent being abnormally dry. Nine percent had severe drought with another three and a half percent in the extreme category. None of the state was classified in the exceptional category, while almost three percent had no drought at all.
Lots of heavy rain fell across the mountains where extreme drought remained as of last week. Hopefully when the new numbers are released tomorrow we will see that area of red (extreme drought) shrink!
One thing for sure is that November will start off well above normal with record highs possible during the first week. Highs this weekend will soar back into the low 80s, and those type of readings should stay with us at least through the following weekend. But will it last through the rest of the month? After all it is November, and it should be cooling off, right?
Well I decided to look back through the record books at previous Novembers going back to 2000. Of the previous 16 Novembers, 7 of them were above normal (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2015). The warmest year was 2001 checking in with an average overall temperature of 59.9 compared to the normal of 54.0. From the graph below you can see that most of the month stayed above normal. It was very consistent.
Many months started out very warm only to end up below normal in the end. 2000 is a perfect example where the month began very warm with a high of 80 on the 1st, and then back to back records of 81 on the 2nd and 3rd only to start a slide toward cooler temperatures. That month ended up with an overall average temperature of 51 compared to the normal of 54!
You can see by the graph above how the first three days of 2000 started off much warmer than the rest. Along with the cooler weather that year it was also wetter than average with over 5 inches of rain recorded!
Seems like rain has been pretty scarce for a while, but if you look inside the numbers we are actually doing just fine.
RECENT RAINFALL: Rain totals over the last 30 days have been less than normal. In fact we have received only 2.26” which is 1.29” below average. But if you look at the last 60 days we are above normal by 0.78”, and looking back for the last 6 months we are above average by 1.33”. For the last 365 days (1year) we are above average by 6.55”. The most recent Palmer Drought Index (Crop Moisture Index) shows that the entire state of Georgia is drought free! Now that doesn’t mean that your grass or garden couldn’t use a little help from Mother Nature, because I know mine sure could it just means that overall there is enough soil moisture and water in area reservoirs to avoid a short term drought.
CHANCE OF RAIN: Over the next 7 to 10 days our outlook for rain doesn’t improve greatly. Each day we are looking at anywhere from a 30-40% chance of late day t-showers, and that to be honest is being generous. High pressure building overhead is limiting the development of the daily t-showers, putting our t-shower production barely in the 10-20% range the past few days.
TEMPERATURES: The warmer than normal temperatures over the past week show no signs of letting up as well with highs remaining in the mid to upper 80s and lows in the mid to upper 60s right through next week.
Spring arrives this Thursday and along with the expected warmer weather the certainty of drier months down the road also looms near. So where do we stand on the state of drought here in north Georgia? According to the US Drought Monitor the entire state of Georgia is drought free with only a few areas classified as abnormally dry. Here in north Georgia that includes the counties of Heard and Carroll to the west, and Gilmer, Fannin, Lumpkin, White, Habbersham, Towns, Union and Rabun counties to the northeast.
Of course 2013 was an extremely wet year with a total of 66.02″ of rain. The average yearly total for Atlanta is 49.7″ so we were 16.31″ above normal. Looking closer, though, we had some very dry months in the fall of 2013 before an incredibly wet December.
It turns out that 5 of the last 6 months have actually been below normal, but that whopping 7.8″ of rain in December more than made up for the deficit. So far, March is starting off just about right where we should be, but will have to remain wet to keep up with what is historically our second wettest month of the year coming in just behind July.