2017-08-10 / News

July drier than normal, but rainfall still causing problems for some Ga. farmers

After a month of below-normal temperatures, Georgia’s summer temperatures returned in July. Most of the state, except for the southeastern counties, was warmer and drier than normal, but clima­tologists don’t believe a drought is likely to develop over the next three months.

Despite these drier-than-normal conditions, frequent rain showers caused problems for farmers har­vesting wheat and hay, and the rain prevented others from spraying for pests. Farmers had a hard time get­ting into the field due to rainfall in some areas, while irrigation has been needed in other areas. Over­all, crop conditions seem good and farmers report that yields look like they will be high.

Wind damage from strong thun­derstorms was reported on 23 out of 31 days in the month, along with some hail on July 7. Many of those storms pushed over trees, causing damage to buildings and power lines. A 150-year-old southern red oak on the campus of Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center suffered a large, vertical split fol­lowing a series of severe storms on Independence Day weekend and had to be removed. Winds early in the month caused flattening of to­bacco plants, which resulted in ex­tra labor as farmers had to straight­en the plants.

The highest monthly total pre­cipitation recorded by a National Weather Service station was 6.58 inches in Brunswick, Georgia, 2.5 inches above normal. The lowest monthly total precipitation was recorded in Atlanta at 2.68 inches, 2.59 inches below normal. No dai­ly or monthly rainfall records were set in Georgia for July 2017.

•Albany, Georgia, received 4.16 inches of rain, 1.3 inches below normal.

•Athens, Georgia, received 3.08 inches of rain, 1.39 inches above normal.

•Augusta, Georgia, received 5.04 inches of rain, 0.71 of an inch be­low normal.

•Columbus, Georgia, received 4.98 inches of rain, 0.22 of an inch below normal.

•Macon, Georgia, received 3.64 inches of rain, 1.31 inches below normal.

•Rome, Georgia, received 2.94 inches of rain, 1.38 inches below normal.

•Savannah, Georgia, received 6.21 inches of rain, 0.61 of an inch above normal.

•Valdosta, Georgia, received 3.28 inches of rain, 3.35 inches below normal.

The highest daily rainfall total recorded by Community Collabor­ative Rain, Hail and Snow Network volunteers was 5.2 inches, which was recorded near Fort Valley, Georgia, in Peach County on July 25. The next highest total was 5.06 inches, recorded near Townsend, Georgia, in McIntosh County on July 27.

For the entire month of July, the highest rainfall total recorded was 13.9 inches, measured near Screven, Georgia, in Wayne Coun­ty. The next highest monthly total was followed by 13.48 inches, re­corded by an observer from Pooler, Georgia, in Chatham County.

July was slightly warmer than normal across the state, but only one record was set. Brunswick re­ported a high minimum tempera­ture of 80 degrees Fahrenheit on July 6, breaking the old record of 79 F set in 2013. Several other high minimum temperatures in Alma, Georgia, and Brunswick tied old records during July. lIn Alma, the monthly average temperature was 83 F, 0.7 of a de­gree above normal. lIn Albany, the monthly average temperature was 83.1 F, 0.7 of a de­gree above normal. lIn Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 81.2 F, 1 degree above normal. lIn Athens, the monthly average temperature was 80.9 F, 0.3 of a de­gree above normal. lIn Augusta, the monthly aver­age temperature was 83.6 F, 2 de­grees above normal. lIn Brunswick, the monthly av­erage temperature was 83.7 F, 0.9 of a degree above normal. lIn Columbus, the monthly av­erage temperature was 83.6 F, 1.1 degrees above normal. lIn Macon, the monthly average temperature was 82.2 F, 0.4 of a de­gree above normal. lIn Savannah, the monthly aver­age temperature was 83.3 F, 0.7 of a degree above normal. lIn Rome, the monthly average temperature was 80.7 F, 1.1 degrees above normal. lIn Valdosta, the monthly aver­age temperature was 81.6 F, 0.1 of a degree above normal.

The outlook for August shows that we have an equal chance for near-, above- and below-normal temperatures across the state. The current weather pattern makes it seem that cooler conditions will prevail in the first half of the month before a return to warmer condi­tions may occur. The chances for wetter-than-normal conditions statewide through the month are slightly increased. The tropics are starting to enter their most active period and any storms that develop may affect rainfall for the rest of the growing season.

For more information, please see the “Climate and Agriculture in the South East” blog at blog.extension. uga.edu/climate/ or visit www.ga­climate.org. These resources are now also available on Facebook at “Southeast Ag Climate” and on Twitter at @SE_ AgClimate. Please email your weather and climate im­pacts on agriculture to share on the blog to pknox@uga.edu.

(Pam Knox serves as University of Georgia Agricultural Climatolo­gist with UGA Department of Crop and Soil Science.)

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