Published on 08/06/09

Georgia sees record low temps in July

By Pam Knox
University of Georgia

July was cool and dry across most of Georgia, with many places receiving record low temperatures.

In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 78.1 F (1.9 degrees below normal), in Athens 79.2 degrees (.6 degrees below normal), Columbus 79.8 degrees (2.2 degrees below normal), Macon 80.1 degrees (1 degree below normal), Savannah 80.9 degrees(1.2 degrees below normal), Brunswick 81.4 degrees (1 degree below normal), Alma 80.8 degrees (1.2 degrees below normal) and Augusta 79.9 degrees (.9 degree below normal).

Many daily low temperature records were broken mid-month as cool dry air from the northwest entered the state. Macon's daily low temperature on July 21 was 56 degrees, 9 degrees below the previous record set in 1967. On the same day Columbus reported 61 degrees, 6 degrees below the previous record set in 1974.

Rainfall across most of the state was below normal, according to radar estimates. However, rainfall amounts as much as 8 inches were observed along the Georgia coast, particularly near Brunswick, St. Mary and Savannah, and also along the southwest border near Clay County, according to the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.

The highest monthly total from National Weather Service reporting stations was 7.17 inches in Brunswick (2.36 inches above normal) and the lowest was in Athens at 1.33 inches (3.08 inches below normal).

Atlanta received 5.02 inches (.1 inch below normal), Columbus 3.83 inches (1.21 inches below normal), Macon 2.19 inches (2.13 inches below normal), Alma 1.91 inches (4.10 inches below normal), Savannah 6.57 inches (.53 inch above normal), and Augusta 3.29 inches (.78 inch below normal).

The highest monthly total rainfall from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network was 15.29 inches near St. Mary in the far southeastern corner of the state. Another observer near St. Mary reported 14.57 inches. An observer in Morganton reported 11.49 inches for the month, and an observer in Kingsland reported 10.31 inches.

The high daily rainfall reported by CoCoRaHS observers were 4.80 inches in Carnesville on July 11, followed by 4.68 inches in St. Mary on the July 10, 4.44 inches in Tucker on July 13 and 4.29 inches on Skidaway Island on the July 11.

Two one-day record rainfalls occurred in July. One was in Atlanta, where 1.89 inches fell on July 13, and the other in Brunswick where 2.59 inches fell on July 3.

There were no tornadoes reported. There were scattered reports of hail or strong winds somewhere in Georgia on 13 days. Damage from these events was limited to a few trees down or temporary power outages to a few locations.

The dry conditions aided hay harvesting but caused stress on many field crops. The hit-or-miss rainfalls did not provide any wide-spread relief through the state, although some local areas benefitted.

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