One of Augusta’s traditionally driest months was even drier than usual this year, according to the National Weather Service.
Aside from showers Oct. 1 and 4, warm temperatures and clear skies left the region with just 1.46 inches – a deficit of 1.82 inches from normal rainfall.
September was also very dry, with just 1.84 inches of rain – 1.38 inches shy of the average 3.22 inches.
The prolonged dry spell has left many counties with fire danger advisories, and the Georgia Forestry Commission has suspended issuance of burn permits in many areas, including Richmond and Columbia counties.
Thurmond Lake, where 1.58 inches of October rainfall was recorded, continues to recede, with a pool level of 316.3 feet above sea level last Friday. Full pool is 330 feet above sea level – or 13.7 feet higher than current levels.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers’ drought plan, the already-reduced flows from Thurmond Dam to the Savannah River will be reduced even more – from 3,800 cubic feet per second to 3,100 – when the lake’s pool falls to 316 feet above sea level.
Some relief could be in store for the area, according to the most recent long-term forecast from Nyasha Dunkley, Georgia’s deputy state climatologist.
“The 90-day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center called for above-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation due to a weak El Nino pattern expected,” she said.
Statewide, 2012 so far ranks as the sixth-warmest year on record and the warmest year since at least 1932, she said.