Upstate rainfall could give slight boost to Thurmond Lake

A car splashes through standing water Monday in Gainesville

Heavy upstate rains that swelled rivers and streams Monday could bring some slight relief to drought-stricken Savannah River reservoirs upstream from Augusta.

According to the National Weather Service, a flood watch is in effect until Wednesday morning for much of north Georgia, where showers and heavy rain will bring precipitation totals of 4 to 6 inches in the northwest, with 2 to 3 inches to the south and east.

Thurmond Lake, which was more than 15 feet below full pool in late December, has risen gradually during the past week. Its current elevation, 315.77 feet, represents a gain of about a foot in the past two weeks.

Given the current conditions and recent rainfall, the reservoir is expected to rise almost two more feet by mid-March, according to the newest projections posted this week by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The catalyst for this week’s upstate precipitation is moisture from the Gulf of Mexico overrunning a stalled frontal boundary in central Georgia, according to an advisory issued by Columbia County authorities.

Much of the flooding is expected to occur in northwest Georgia, which would not affect the Savannah River lakes, but some rainfall is expected in the upper Savannah River basin.

Augusta’s forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of rain Wednesday and an 80 percent chance of rain Thursday and Thursday night.

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