Published on 08/13/15

No heat relief projected until late this year, UGA expert says

By Pam Knox

Those looking for relief from July’s unrelenting heat aren’t likely to find it anytime soon. Average temperatures during July were about 1 to 2 degrees above normal and are projected to be slightly warmer in August.

Just a little hotter than normal

In July, temperatures across Georgia were above normal almost everywhere. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 81.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees above normal); Athens, 82 F (1.4 degrees above normal); Columbus, 83.7 F (1.2 degrees above normal); Macon, 83.8 F (2 degrees above normal); Savannah, 83.7 F (1.1 degrees above normal); Alma, 83 F (1 degree above normal); Augusta, 83.6 F (2 degrees above normal); Albany, 83.7 F (1.3 degrees above normal); Rome, 81.1 F (1.5 degrees above normal); and Valdosta, 83.1 F (1.7 degrees above normal). Macon was the eighth-warmest July in 119 years of record.

Alma, Georgia, broke its record for a nighttime high temperature on July 21, with 78 F. The previous high minimum on that date was 76 F, set in 1995. Several other high and high minimum temperatures were tied in July.

Drought expands

The highest monthly total precipitation, according to National Weather Service reporting stations, was 10.08 inches in Valdosta at 3.45 inches above normal, and the lowest was in Macon at 1.56 inches, 3.39 inches below normal.

Atlanta received 5.01 inches of precipitation (0.26 inches below normal); Athens, 5.08 inches (0.61 inches above normal); Columbus, 2.24 inches (2.52 below normal); Savannah, 5.36 inches (0.24 below normal); Alma, 5.48 inches (0.15 above normal); Brunswick, 9.22 inches (5.14 above normal); Albany, 4.53 inches (0.93 below normal); Rome, 3.12 inches (1.20 below normal); and Augusta, 3.52 inches (0.81 inches below normal).

Columbus has its eighth-driest July in its recorded 114 years, and Macon was the 10th-driest in 119 years of record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s perspectives tool at

One daily rainfall record was set in July. Brunswick received 2.18 inches on July 25, breaking its old record of 1.58 inches, set in 1983.

The highest single-day rainfall, according to Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) volunteers, was 4.75 inches near Colbert in Oglethorpe County on July 3, followed by 4.25 and 4.20 inches recorded by two observers on Tybee Island in Chatham County on July 24. The highest monthly total rainfall was 11.95 inches, observed south of Savannah in Chatham County. Several other observers in the same area recorded totals in excess of 11 inches.

Severe weather was observed on 24 out of 31 days during July. All reports involved scattered wind damage, except for reports of hail on July 2 and 14.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought increased across the state in July. Drought conditions in south Georgia are expected to be reduced by rainfall the beginning of August, but drought in the central part of the state may get worse in August as that area gets missed by the rains falling farther south.

Farmers welcomed the rain that did fall across the state in July, although frequent showers in some areas hampered hay production. Heavy irrigation was evident in the driest areas as crops hit their peak water needs.

For more information, please visit the “Climate and Agriculture in the South East” blog at or the new web page at . Email weather and climate impacts on agriculture for sharing on the blog to

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