And the vicious cycle continued in August, which brought sparse rainfall and hot temperatures to Georgia for the seventh straight month, increasing drought across the state.
In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 83 degrees F (3.6 degrees above normal), in Athens 82.7 degrees (3.1 degrees above normal), Columbus 85.5 degrees (3.6 degrees above normal), Macon 84 degrees (3.1 degrees above normal), Savannah 84.8 degrees (3.3 degrees above normal), Brunswick 85.3 degrees (3.5 degrees above normal), Alma 84.7 degrees (3.4 degrees above normal), Valdosta 84.5 degrees (3.3 degrees above normal) and Augusta 84.4 degrees (3.9 degrees above normal).
For Atlanta, this was the third-warmest August and the second-warmest six-month period since records began in 1878. All National Weather Service stations in Georgia were in the top 5 warmest Augusts and top 2 warmest six-month periods. This summer was one of Georgia’s top 5 warmest on record.
Many record-high temperatures were broken or tied at all major city airports except Atlanta this month.
Rainfall in August was less than normal with the exception of a few widely scattered areas. It was particularly dry near the coast, where departures from normal of up to four inches were seen.
The highest monthly total precipitation from NWS reporting stations was 5.05 inches in Columbus (1.28 inches above normal). The lowest was in Augusta at 1.19 inches (3.13 inches below normal). Valdosta received 2.31 inches (3.19 inches below normal), Macon 1.41 inches (2.69 inches below normal), Savannah 2.68 inches (3.88 inches below normal), Alma 2.34 inches (3.07 inches below normal), Athens 2.44 inches (1.09 inches below normal), Brunswick 4.20 inches (2.07 inches below normal) and Atlanta 1.51 inches (2.39 inches below normal).
A one daily rainfall record was set at Columbus Aug. 8, where 3.28 inches was reported at the airport. This broke the old record of 0.99 inch set for the date in 1981.
The highest single-day rainfall from a Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network station was 4.12 inches near Fayetteville in Fayette County Aug. 7. An observer near Comer in Madison County reported 3.03 inches Aug. 6. Another observer in Richmond Hill in Bryan County reported 3 inches Aug. 9. The Richmond Hill observer had the highest monthly total of 8.81 inches, followed by an observer on Tybee Island with 7.07 inches.
There were no tornadoes reported in August, but severe weather, mostly as high winds, caused scattered damage somewhere in Georgia on 14 days during the month.
(Pam Knox serves as University of Georgia Agricultural Climatologist with UGA Department of Crop and Soil Science.)