Is the drought over? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is the drought over?

^Hydrologist Woody Hicks ^Hydrologist Woody Hicks

May 7, 2003

Albany-- The benefits of heavy rain in northern Georgia are trickling South.

"It is good news, it takes a lot of the strain off the whole river basin and gets water stored in reservoirs."

Does this mean that the five year drought is finally over? Day three of drenching rains in North Georgia. Tuesday, Lake Lanier in Atlanta got more than four inches of rain-- forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to close the dam to prevent flooding. Although most of our part of the state has remained relatively dry, these northern rains mean good things for South Georgia.

Those heavy rains in North Georgia are good news for us farther south.

"It's good to see. It's been since the late 90's since we've seen our streams this full." Stream flow in South Georgia is at normal levels-- although Hydrologist Woody Hicks says this part of the state has a rainfall deficit, "Even though we are not getting the rain down here we benefit from the flow in the Southern part of the basin."

The ecosystem in the southern part of the state is dependent on the what happens up north--and when important reservoirs, like Lake Lanier in Atlanta, fill up, our streams and rivers benefit. Hicks says, "Lake Lanier is above normal pool now, several feet above normal pool which increases the storage for the summer time when we are going to need that water."

While there is more water to go around--the five-year drought is not over yet, "We are still in the drought especially in this part of the state and hopefully we'll get some of that rain in the northern part of the state here because we are getting dry again." The mix of sun and clouds is okay for now--but if South Georgia doesn't get some soaking rainfall soon, those North Georgia storms won't mean so much.

Hydrologist Woody Hicks says the drought is broken--the Floridian aquifer is at normal levels and the wetlands are beginning to fill back up.

Posted at 4:30 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com