If you ask people in Augusta how they feel about the unending rainfall, many will sing the rainy day blues. But experts said it’s a misconception that dreary, rainy weather negatively affects mood.
“We assume that’s the case, but it doesn’t seem there are a lot of studies to prove that,” said Stewart Shevitz, a professor of psychiatry at Georgia Regents University.
Since June, Augusta Regional Airport has recorded 11 days without rainfall. As of midnight Wednesday, the airport has measured 15.99 inches of rain since June 1.
For some, the rain has changed summer plans that normally accompany bright, sunny weather.
Elizabeth Hamilton and her sister Ashley Hayes, both of Augusta, said their summers normally consist of cookouts every weekend, taking their children to the park and some travel. This year, they said, the rain has complicated matters and makes travel dangerous.
“I feel so grumpy because you can’t do anything,” Hamilton said. “I’m always so bored.”
The sisters were getting a little sunshine Thursday, strolling along the top path of Augusta’s Riverwalk with their young sons, who have been more restless than normal this summer.
“They really didn’t have much of a summer,” Hamilton said.
Renee Bush, of Evans, and Kat Siegert, of Martinez, both said the increase in rain and lack of a normal summer makes them feel “depressed.”
Bush, who has lived in the area all her life, said she’s never seen the rain this extreme. The women took a trip downtown Thursday to look at the Savannah River overtaking the bottom portion of the riverwalk.
“You can set your watch by it,” Bush said. “At 3:30 every day it’s going to rain.”
Shevitz said that in general, rain does not result in drops of mood. Studies do show, however, that a decrease in sunlight can result in increased thinking problems and increases in sunlight can help those suffering from depression, be beneficial to dementia patients and help speed recovery for some surgery patients.
“Pleasant springtime weather seems to be more impactful,” he said.
The effect can also depend on the person and his or her weather preferences.
Teresa May, of Beech Island, said the summer showers have not affected her plans or her emotions.
“I love the rain,” she said.
People who have a predisposition to mood disorders might suffer more from the dreary weather, but the general public does not appear to, studies show.
Kelly Homlar, an assistant professor of GRU’s Department of Orthopedics, Joint Replacement and Orthopedic Oncology, said she has heard complaints from the weather, but they’re related to increased arthritis pain.
“The scientific evidence is inconclusive as to whether or not a true association exists,” she said. Humidity and barometric pressure changes have been positively linked to more severe arthritis pain.