Very hot daytime temperatures and lack of rainfall led to strengthened drought across Georgia in June. Temperatures were at or near record levels for the month across the state.
Temperatures across the state were above normal for a fifth straight month. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 81.2 degrees F (4.4 degrees above normal), in Athens 81 degrees (4.7 degrees above normal), Columbus 84.4 degrees (5.2 degrees above normal), Macon 82.9 degrees (4.9 degrees above normal), Savannah 83 degrees (4.2 degrees above normal), Brunswick 82.4 degrees (3 degrees above normal), Alma 83.5 degrees (4.2 degrees above normal), Valdosta 83.3 degrees (4.9 above normal) and Augusta 82.1 degrees (4.6 degrees above normal).
June was the warmest ever in Columbus in 64 years of record. It was the second warmest in Macon in 119 years of record. It was the third warmest June in 133 years of Atlanta records. Temperature records in Athens, Alma, Savannah, Valdosta and Augusta were also in the top ten Junes in their histories.
Numerous daily record-high temperatures were broken. Columbus broke four daily records and tied three more, including 101 degrees F on June 1 and 3, breaking old records of 98 F and 99 F, set respectively in 1998 and 1985. Macon set a daily record of 103 F June 3, breaking the old record of 102 F set in 1985. Alma set new daily temperature records on six different days, including a reading of 103 F June 15, which broke the old record of 100 F set in 1981.
The National Weather Service in Savannah noted that their new daily maximum temperature record of 102 F for June 13 was the warmest it has been in Savannah since July 20, 2000.
Precipitation in June was scattered due to pop-up thunderstorms. The wettest areas were in northern Georgia and in the southeastern part of the state, where showers helped firefighters control the large fires near the Okefenokee Swamp that have been burning since late April.
The highest monthly total precipitation from NWS reporting stations was 7.09 inches in Savannah (1.60 inches above normal). The lowest was in Augusta at 1.98 inches (2.07 below normal). Valdosta received 3.50 inches (1.86 inches below normal), Athens 2.44 inches (1.50 inches above normal), Alma 3.11 inches (2.38 inches below normal), Columbus 2.64 inches (0.87 inch below normal), Macon 2.76 inches (0.78 inch below normal), Brunswick 3.86 inches (1.19 inches below normal) and Atlanta 2.20 inches (1.43 inches below normal).
The highest single-day rainfall from Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 5.63 inches on Tybee Island June 30. Another nearby observer on Wilmington Island reported 4.26 inches the same day. The same Tybee Island observer had the highest monthly rainfall amount of 10.08 inches, followed by 8.65 inches in Rabun Gap and 8.44 inches on Wilmington Island.
Severe weather was reported somewhere in the state on 25 days in June. There were no tornadoes reported, but scattered hail and wind damage and power outages were observed at locations around the state. The widest outbreaks of wind and hail were reported June 15 and June 26.
(Pam Knox serves as University of Georgia Agricultural Climatologist with UGA Department of Crop and Soil Science.)