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Long term drought in Georgia
About North Georgia

Randy's Corner

About North Georgia's publisher Randy Golden contributes a look into life in north Georgia, the Web, or anything that's on his mind.

This article was written in May, 2001. In 2003 the long-term drought in Georgia was over.

Hello, friends
An old friend who is an on-camera meteorologist for The Weather Channel told me the other day that Georgia's short term drought had broken. What a relief. I have lived in north Georgia for almost 17 years (if you include the time I spent in Atlanta), and this was the worst drought I had witnessed. Lanier, Allatoona and the other north Georgia lakes dropped to levels well below normal. We lost a tree that probably had been in our backyard for 30 years. And our garden needed almost constant watering (I just hope nobody from the water department reads this).

I didn't know meteorologists differentiated between a short-term and long-term drought and sure hope we end the long term drought soon. As a writer with a background in history, I know that a three-year drought in Georgia, while not unheard of, is unusual. I had begun to wonder if this was the start of a change similar to droughts that affected Australia, Russia, and Africa. It is not, my friend assured me.

Depending on your location, the definition of the term "drought" is different since it is a relative term. In places where rainfall is year-round measuring the departure from normal is enough. When rainfall is seasonal, a different calculation must be used. Just looking at total rainfall for the year is not enough, because it can be misleading.

Drought is measured by the Palmer Scale, much like tornadoes are measured by the Fujita-Pearson scale or earthquakes are measured by the Richter Scale. While we are still in a moderate long-term drought the outlook for this summer is hopeful. Things probably won't be as bad as my friend had thought a couple of months ago.

This is good news for all of us. Certainly the gardeners among us will appreciate a little help from above. And if you're an outdoor enthusiast (like my wife and I) you may have to put up with a little rain on your parade, but at least you will have a place to swim and boat. Recent spring rains gave my wife and I the opportunity to hike. It may sound funny to want to hike during or after a rainstorm, but the falls we love so much are simply beautiful after a rainstorm. So we frequently slog across muddy trails to reach the full-flowing falls.

All in all, I'll take the rain.
Randy Golden, Publisher


Randy's Corner
Notes from our publisher, Randy Golden

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