Published on 09/03/09

August weather a mixed bag across Georgia

By Pam Knox
University of Georgia

Rainfall across east Georgia was below normal in August. However, the coastal area received heavy flooding. West Georgia received above normal rainfall, too.

The highest monthly total from National Weather Service was 8.26 inches in Columbus (4.48 inches above normal). The lowest was in Augusta at 2.26 inches (2.08 inches below normal).

Atlanta received 6.14 inches (2.47 inches above normal), Athens 2.70 inches (1.08 inches below normal), Macon 3.83 inches (.04 inches above normal), Alma 5.79 inches (.29 inches above normal), Savannah 7.86 inches (.66 inches above normal), and Brunswick 7.10 inches (.94 inches above normal).

So far, Athens has seen its driest summer since 1993.

Savannah reported severe flooding on August 3, with most of the rain falling in a 2-hour period coinciding with high tide. An observer at Pooler reported 4.62 inches for the day.

The highest monthly total rainfall from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network was 15.14 inches measured on Wilmington Island near Savannah. Two other Savannah area observers reported 14.93 and 14.22 inches. An observer in Effingham County reported 14.03 inches for the month.

The highest daily rainfall reported by a CoCoRaHS observer was 5.10 inches in Grovetown in Columbia County on Aug. 13, followed by 3.82 inches in Martinez and 3.79 inches on Skidaway Island. On Aug. 28, 3.74 inches fell in north Atlanta in DeKalb County. Snellville got 3.72 inches on Aug.15.

The Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring site in Randolph County reported 12.52 inches for the month, including 4.84 inches on Aug. 28, the highest amount reported in southwestern Georgia.

Three daily record maximum rainfalls occurred in August. One was in Atlanta, where a daily maximum rainfall of 1.57 inches was reported on August 28. The second was in Columbus, which received 2.32 inches on Aug. 11. The other was in Brunswick, where a daily rainfall of 2.34 inches was reported on Aug. 12.

The monthly average temperature in Atlanta was 78.9 degrees F (exactly normal), in Athens 79.7 degrees (1.3 degrees above normal), Columbus 79.6 degrees (1.7 degrees below normal), Macon 80 degrees (normal), Savannah 81.2 degrees (.4 degrees above normal), Brunswick 81.1 degrees (.2 degrees below normal), Alma 80.6 degrees (.5 degrees below normal) and Augusta 80.4 degrees (1.1 degrees above normal). Brunswick tied their record low with 70 degrees on August 5.

No tornadoes were reported. There were reports of strong winds or small hail on 13 days. Damage was mainly from toppled trees and scattered power outages. Lightning associated with some of the storms did cause several house fires in the metro Atlanta area, particularly at the end of the month. A 14-year-old boy was severely injured by a lightning strike during a football practice Aug. 12 in Evans County.

Scattered rains helped crops in some locations but hindered harvesting in other areas. Corn yield may be better than expected due to timely rains.

(Pam Knox is the assistant state climatologist and a program specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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