Published on 07/02/09

June starts wet, ends dry, remained hot

By Pam Knox
University of Georgia

High pressure dominated Georgia’s weather in June, leading to temperatures that were well above normal. Lack of rainfall in most areas contributed to general drying of the soils in most counties and put stress on some crops.

In spite of the heat, the only record temperatures that were tied or broken this month were in Brunswick. The daily maximum tied at 98 F on the 17th and was broken at 98 F on the 21st.

The monthly average temperatures were: Atlanta at 79.8 degrees (3 degrees above normal), Athens at 79.9 degrees (3.6 degrees above normal), Columbus at 81.3 degrees (2.1 degrees above normal), Macon 80.8 degrees (2.8 degrees above normal), Savannah 81.9 degrees (3.1 degrees above normal), Brunswick 82.4 degrees (3 degrees above normal), Alma 81.6 degrees (2.3 degrees above normal) and Augusta 80.3 degrees (2.8 degrees above normal).

Rainfall across the state was below normal, according to radar estimates. The only exception was a small area near Jesup in southeast Georgia. More than 10 inches of rain fell in an isolated area in Wayne and Long counties. The rest of the state was 1 inch to 3 inches below normal.

The highest monthly total from National Weather Service airport reporting stations was 4.40 inches in Savannah (1.09 inches below normal). The lowest was in Athens at 1.66 inches (2.28 inches below normal).

Atlanta received 2.34 inches (1.29 below normal), Columbus 3.79 inches (.28 above normal), Macon 2.82 inches (.72 inches below normal), Alma 2.26 inches (3.23 inches below normal), Brunswick 4.10 inches (.95 inches below normal) and Augusta 3.78 inches (.41 inches below normal).

The highest monthly total rainfall from the CoCoRaHS volunteer reporting network during June was 8.49 inches measured near St. Mary in the far southeastern corner of the state. Observers at Clarkesville measured 7.48 inches for the month. Kingsland reported 7.35 inches, and Brooklet measured 7 inches over the month.

The highest daily rainfall amount reported by a CoCoRaHS observer was 3.90 inches northwest of Gainesville on June 5. Blairsville reported 3.25 inches on the 18th and Rome reported 3.0 inches on the 5th.

Much of the rain in north Georgia came with scattered storms arriving from the northwest in the large-scale circulation around the high pressure that was centered just to the west of Georgia.

One tornado was reported. It occurred on June 4 about 6 miles west of Brunswick, when a funnel briefly touched down, causing minimal damage. In addition, there were reports of hail or strong winds somewhere in Georgia on 13 additional dates. In Augusta on the 18th, it was reported that 8,500 households were without power in association with one of these storms.

Early in the month, farmers had problems doing field work and crop planting due to wet conditions. Problems with tobacco virus and sprouted wheat were reported by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents. Lack of rain later in the month, combined with the hot temperatures, many crops became stressed, especially in non-irrigated fields.

Pam Knox is the director of the UGA Weather Network and serves as an agricultural climatologist with the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.