What is in this article?:
- Heat adding to Georgia‚Äôs drought woes
- Drought getting worse
• Temperatures were above normal during May everywhere in Georgia for a fourth straight month.
• It was the ninth driest May in Savannah since records began in 1871, the seventh driest in Athens since 1857, the third driest in Columbus since 1948, and the fifth driest in Macon since 1892.
Drought getting worse
It was the ninth driest May in Savannah since records began in 1871, the seventh driest in Athens since 1857, the third driest in Columbus since 1948, and the fifth driest in Macon since 1892.
For the spring period of March through May, it was the sixth driest in Columbus since 1948 and the ninth driest in Macon since 1892.
There were no daily rainfall records set in May.
The highest single-day rainfall from Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 3.53 inches in DeKalb County May 27.
Another nearby observer reported 3.07 inches on the same day. The highest monthly total precipitation of 4.38 inches was measured at the same location, with two additional monthly totals of 4.12 and 4.02 inches reported by other observers in DeKalb County in May.
Severe weather was reported on six days. No tornadoes were reported, but scattered hail and wind damage did occur.
On May 26, almost 200,000 customers in metro Atlanta and 240,000 customers across the state were without power due to strong storms. Three people died in Atlanta due to falling trees, and a UPS truck was set on fire. Lightning sparked several house fires. Windshields were damaged by softball-size hail in Fannin County.
A large forest fire consumed more than 230 square miles of swampland and forest mostly in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Georgia.
The fire was apparently set by lightning April 28 and is the largest in the area since 2007, when more than 500,000 acres burned during Georgia's last drought.
Drought expanded across most of the state by the end of the month. The southern three-quarters of the state was in drought conditions by late May, and more than 50 percent was considered to be in extreme drought.
Soil moisture conditions declined, as the lack of rainfall and high temperatures accelerated evapotranspiration and stressed plants. By the end of the month, more than 80 percent of subsurface soil moisture was reported as short to very short.
(Pam Knox is the assistant state climatologist and an engineering program coordinator in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)