Published on 07/08/10

Summertime heat hits Georgia hard

By Pam Knox

The heat was on in Georgia in June. And pop-up thunderstorms scattered rainfall and wind damage across the state.

Temperatures were warmer than normal everywhere across the state. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 81.4 degrees F (4.6 degrees above normal), in Athens 80.6 degrees (4.3 degrees above normal), Columbus 82.7 degrees (3.5 degrees above normal), Macon 82 degrees (4 degrees above normal), Savannah 83.6 degrees (4.8 degrees above normal), Brunswick 82.9 degrees (3.5 degrees above normal), Alma 82.3 degrees (3 degrees above normal), Valdosta 83 degrees (4.6 degrees above normal) and Augusta 82.8 degrees (5.3 degrees above normal).

Soaring into the 100s

Record-high minimum temperatures were set in Savannah and Augusta June 14. The 102 degrees in Savannah beat the old record of 100 set in 1921. The 103-degree measurement in Augusta surpassed the old record of 101 set in 2000. Augusta also had a record daily high temperature June 15 with 104 degrees, breaking the old record of 100 set in 1971.

Atlanta recorded its highest June average minimum temperature since records started at the airport in 1928. The average daytime high was the seventh hottest. It was the area's second hottest June, beat only by June 1952.

Rainfall above and below normal

Parts of the state received above-normal rainfall. However, almost half the state experienced below-normal precipitation, particularly in a narrow band along the coast and in the northwestern third of the state.

The highest monthly rainfall total from National Weather Service reporting stations was 8.78 inches in Alma (3.29 inches above normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at 1.42 inches (3.63 inches below normal). Valdosta received 4.52 inches (.84 inch below normal), Macon 5.73 inches (2.19 inches above normal), Athens 4.55 inches (.61 inch above normal), Atlanta 5.21 inches (1.58 inches above normal), Columbus 2.45 inches (1.06 inches below normal), Savannah 5.79 inches (.30 inch above normal) and Augusta 2.19 inches (2 inches below normal).

Record daily rainfalls were set in Alma on June 4 and June 30. June 4, Alma received 1.05 inches, surpassing the old record of .85 inch set in 1995. June 30, Alma received 1.39 inches, eliminating the old record of .96 inch set in 1999.

The highest single-day rainfall from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 5.13 inches near Manor in Ware County in southeast Georgia June 30. An observer in Tift County received 4.25 inches that day. The highest monthly rainfall total in June was 10.09 inches from an observer northeast of Pearson in Atkinson County.

Lightning kills one

There were no tornadoes reported in Georgia last month. However, severe weather hit somewhere in the state 21 separate days in the month. Several Georgians were injured by lightning. One teen was killed in Henry County south of Atlanta June 30 when lightning struck near where he was standing outside his home. Lightning was also reported to have caused several house fires. Another person was injured June 5 when a roof of a pole barn collapsed near Lovett in Laurens County.

Heat stressed crops particularly in areas that did not receive normal rainfall. In the northeast part of the state, wine grapes were affected by the heat, and in other areas corn and wheat were stressed. However, in spite of the heat, most crops continue to be in good condition.

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

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