Published on 06/01/07

Extremely dry May sets records in Georgia

By David Emory Stooksbury
University of Georgia

Athens, Ga. –- An extremely dry May is setting low rainfall records across Georgia. May is traditionally one of the drier months, with rainfall normally averaging 3 to 4 inches across the state.

No rain was recorded in May in many places from near Macon to south of Albany. University of Georgia weather stations recording no rain in May in this area were Arabi, Camilla, Cordele, Jeffersonville and Newton.

With little to no rain in May, drought conditions in the lower Flint River Valley and middle Georgia have deteriorated very fast. Much of this region will be reclassified on Monday as being in extreme drought.

May rainfall set preliminary record lows at Camilla (0.00 inches), Cedartown (0.80), Macon (less than 0.01), Plains (0.00 tied 1962), Rome (0.22), Tifton (0.02) and Valdosta (0.20 tied 1920).

Total April and May rainfall set preliminary record lows at Alma (0.42 inches), Camilla (0.58 tied 1986), Cedartown (2.36), Plains (0.35), Rome (0.35), Tifton (0.02) and Valdosta (0.65).

More records

Rainfall totals for March through May set preliminary record lows at Alma (2.39 inches), Atlanta airport (5.07), Camilla (2.08), Macon (3.59), Plains (2.32), Rome (2.40), Tifton (1.90) and Valdosta (0.69).

Based on preliminary data, June 2006 through May 2007 rainfall set record lows for that period at Alma (29.82 inches) and Rome (31.97).

UGA weather stations with less than 0.25 inches of rain in May were Alapaha (0.16 inches), Alma (0.19), Arabi (0.00), Attapulgus (0.19), Byromville (0.13), Byron (0.03), Cairo (0.24), Calhoun (0.06), Camilla (0.00), Cordele (0.00), Dawson (0.01), Dixie (0.02), Eatonton (0.17), Fort Valley (0.17), Homerville (0.18), Jeffersonville (0.00), Moultrie (0.06), Newton (0.00), Plains (0.02), Sasser (0.13), Shellman (0.03), Tifton (0.01), Ty Ty (0.08), Unadilla (0.18), Vidalia (0.01) and Vienna (0.12).

Since the planting season started in full force April 1, several UGA weather stations have had less than 2 inches of rain. These are Alapaha (0.40 inches), Alma (0.20), Attapulgus (0.61), Brunswick (1.41), Cairo (1.00), Calhoun (1.23), Camilla (1.56), Dixie (0.48), Douglas (0.37), Eatonton, (1.11), Fort Valley (1.46), Griffin (1.88), Homerville (0.24), Moultrie (0.24), Nahunta (0.80), Rome (1.62), Savannah(1.29), Skidaway Island (1.87), Statesboro (1.77), Tifton (0.46), Ty Ty (1.02), Valdosta (1.15), Vidalia (0.71) and Woodbine (1.32).

Outdoor watering

The entire state remains under the level-2 outdoor water-use schedule. Outdoor watering is allowed from midnight to 10 a.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at odd-number street addresses and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at even-number addresses. It's banned all day on Fridays.

Several local water authorities have further restricted outdoor watering.

Get updated drought information at The state drought Web site includes information on how to deal with the drought.

The University of Georgia automated weather stations may be accessed at This UGA network has 71 automated weather stations statewide.

(David Emory Stooksbury is the state climatologist and a professor engineering and atmospheric sciences in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

David Emory Stooksbury is associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.