Rainfall totals from Tuesday’s storms ranged from barely a trace in northwestern Columbia County to as much as 4 inches in Grovetown, according to local authorities and the National Weather Service.
The line of late-afternoon thundershowers formed near Augusta and remained stationary, drenching some areas with enough rainfall for flash floods. Most of the rain fell within 90 minutes, said Pam Tucker, Columbia County’s emergency and operations director.
Four inches were recorded near Huntington Drive in Grovetown, with 3 inches measured at Columbia County’s Crawford Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Another county water facility on Reed Creek near West Lake subdivision recorded 2.8 inches.
Lesser totals included 1.35 inches at the Evans Government Center, 1.5 inches at Forest Creek subdivision, 1.51 inches in Walnut Hill and 1.9 inches on Winchester Trail in Martinez.
The National Weather Service recorded less than an inch at its Augusta Regional Airport station.
The weather station at Daniel Field Airport recorded 1.78 inches, bringing the 2012 total for that location to 24.3 inches. That year-to-date total is above the total at Augusta Regional Airport, which has measured 16.89 inches since Jan. 1.
The Thurmond Lake area received much less rainfall, with just a trace recorded at the Clarks Hill water treatment plant near Pollard’s Corner.
Although the rainfall across Augusta and part of Columbia County was helpful, it will take much more than a one day to re-hydrate portions of the metro area now ranked in the “exceptional drought” category – the most severe classification available.
“At this point, any rainfall we get might help in the short term, but we have to wait to see how the stream flow and groundwater will respond,” said Nyasha Dunkley, the deputy state climatologist.
The Augusta area remains in its driest period on record when measured over the past 365 days, she said. Even with more than a century of data, the rainfall deficit – 20.84 inches – is the largest ever recorded for the period.
If measured from Jan. 1, the rainfall deficit shrinks to 11.3 inches for Augusta but still ranks as the second-driest period on record from January to August.