Tropical Storm Ida brought more wet days to Georgia in November, setting rainfall records in what is normally a dry month.
Rainfall across most of the state was well above normal, according to radar estimates, particularly due to Ida’s heavy rains on Nov. 10. Many areas north of the fall line from Columbus to Augusta received more than 5 inches of rain. Southern Georgia, particularly the southeastern section, received below-normal rainfall, with the lowest values occurring near Brunswick.
The highest monthly total from National Weather Service reporting stations was 6.75 inches in Columbus (2.78 inches above normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at .71 inch (1.78 inches below normal). Atlanta received 5.75 inches (1.65 inches above normal), Macon 3.87 inches (.67 inch above normal), Athens 5.17 inches (1.46 inches above normal), Augusta 5.61 inches (2.93 inches above normal), Savannah 2.31 inches (.09 inch below normal) and Alma 1.41 inches (1.16 inches below normal).
Many stations within the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network also reported wet conditions for the month. The highest monthly totals of 10.80 inches and 10.46 inches were both reported in Rabun County in far northeast Georgia. On Nov. 11 with the passage of Ida, the highest one-day reports of 6.09 inches and 6.10 inches came from two observers in Monroe County in central Georgia.
The Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring sites at Tiger in Rabun County and at Gainesville in Hall County both reported 7.89 inches for the month.
Daily record maximum rainfalls occurred Nov. 10 with Ida. At official NWS airport stations, Atlanta broke a daily maximum rainfall with an observation of 4.05 inches. Athens received 1.94 inches. Columbus received 5.44 inches, and Macon received 2.53 inches during this storm Nov.12. Alma also reported a daily record rainfall of .92 inches Nov. 22.
Because of the unusually high rainfall in September, October and November, Athens, Atlanta, Macon and Columbus airports set their records for the wettest fall seasons ever recorded. Athens reported 24.13 inches, Atlanta 23.31 inches, Columbus 18.43 inches and Macon 20.94 inches during the three-month period.
Temperatures across the state were near normal. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 53.8 degrees F (.4 degree above normal), in Athens 54.8 degrees (2.1 degrees above normal), Columbus 55.4 degrees (1.3 degrees below normal), Macon 55.6 degrees (.5 degree above normal), Savannah 59.4 degrees (.7 degree above normal), Brunswick 61.7 degrees (.1 degree above normal), Alma 58.3 degrees (2.4 degrees below normal) and Augusta 55.7 degree (1.2 degrees above normal). No temperature records were set in November.
Most of the state had not yet experienced a killing freeze, or temperatures below 28 degrees, by the end of the month.
Georgians did not experience any severe weather in November.
The Department of Natural Resources reported there are more black bears roaming Georgia this year due to both the large acorn crop caused by drought-stressed oak trees in 2008 and the rainy conditions this year, which provided ample vegetation to fatten the bears up. They are predicting a record bear hunting season due to the increase in size and number of bears.
During November, the rains in northern Georgia due to Ida caused problems for farmers trying to harvest hay and other crops. Some grub infestations were reported. In the first and third weeks, dry conditions allowed good progress to be made on harvesting of peanuts, soybeans and cotton. Rain showers benefited the planting of small grains.
(Pam Knox serves as University of Georgia Agricultural Climatologist with UGA Department of Crop and Soil Science.)