As of Aug. 21, the U.S. Drought Monitor recorded more than 77 percent of the contiguous United States in some stage of drought. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Regional Client Services Director David Brown advised that rainfall resulting from Hurricane Isaac’s landfall will be greatly beneficial to portions of the country currently suffering from drought conditions, but that likely will not include north Georgia.
“The hurricane is quite large spatially, so even though it’s looking to make landfall later today in southeast Louisiana, I think already we’ve seen some of the effects of some of the outer bands in Georgia,” Brown said Tuesday. “So I think it’s reasonable to expect there will be some peripheral relief from the system, but unfortunately, the forecast track really keeps it more over the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. So the bulk of the rainfall will probably not help Georgia with respect to the drought situation. Arkansas is in the middle of its worst drought in half a century and they are very much in a position to benefit from this event, most likely later this week or even this weekend.
“Some heavy shower activity is not out of the question for north Georgia, but it will be more ancillary than the main event.”
Locally, the effects of drought may not be noticeable to much of the population, but those in agriculture and conservation see it every day.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief Ranger of Recreation at Lake Allatoona Linda Hartsfield keeps an eye on lake levels and knows well that a single weather event will not be able to produce the necessary precipitation. Tuesday, Lake Allatoona was at 834.89 feet mean sea level, which is 5.11 inches below normal summer pool.
“It would have to start raining today all across north Georgia because our watershed starts up in White County near the Tennessee line. It would have to rain tremendously. This little rain here and there will not help us at all,” Hartsfield said. “We’d have to get a lot — and in the right places because it could rain here in Cartersville, which doesn’t really do anything. It would have to rain in our upper tributaries in our watershed in the north Georgia mountains.”