Thursday, October 25, 2007

Great, just great

Worried about the drought? Wait till next summer

The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 10/25/07

Athens — If you think we have water problems in north Georgia now, just wait.

Things are likely to get a lot worse. A lot drier. And a lot warmer.

That's the collective forecast of computer modelers from numerous agencies that spend their time crunching data and predicting weather conditions. All kinds of data — daily, weekly, monthly, annually, soil moisture, rainfall, lake levels, temperature, water flow.

"It may get much more dire next summer," said state climatologist David Stooksbury of the University of Georgia. He held a press conference in Athens on Thursday morning to present the latest information on the drought.

It all depends on La Niña, a fickle set of atmospheric conditions in the Pacific, Stooksbury said. A strong La Niña likely means for North Georgia less rain and higher temperatures than normal in the next six months, while a weak La Niña could bring more rain and cooler temperatures.

Late fall and winter is typically when enough rain falls to recharge the water systems in the state, trickling through the topsoil into deeper levels of the ground. Without a sufficient amount of rain, North Georgia will head into the warm spring and hot summer with reservoirs at dangerously low levels.

Probabilities are that rainfall in the coming months will be less than normal. Without more than the normal amount of rain, the drought will persist into the spring and summer, Stooksbury said.

"You know how climatologists like to be right?" he said. "This is a situation where I hope I'm wrong."

Pleeeeeease keep praying for rain for North Georgia.