Heavy rains come, but more needed to fight drought

LAWRENCEVILLE - Heavy rainfall cooled off the Atlanta area during the weekend, but the drought isn't over yet.

"The rain we had over the weekend brought some short-term relief to homeowners concerned about their lawns," Georgia Environmental Protections Division spokesman Kevin Chambers said. "But as far as long-term relief we need to see a sustained pattern of weather to bring things back to where they need to be."

Meteorologist Jon Richards, who runs the Web site lawrencevilleweather.com, said Lawrenceville received one inch of rain from Thursday to Sunday. Duluth was soaked with 2.25 inches, and 2.7 inches fell on Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

Richards said the weekend rain was a product of a low pressure weather system from the northwest. A second low pressure front, from the southeast, may keep areas of eastern Georgia cooler and wetter than usual.

The rainfall during the weekend was too scattered to end drought conditions, state Climatologist David Stooksbury said in a statement Monday.

"It takes many months for droughts to develop and a few days of rain will not solve the problem," he said. "Replenishing reservoirs and groundwater takes an extended period of rain."

Atlanta and DeKalb County lifted their bans on outdoor water use on Monday. Cherokee County lifted its ban on Thursday.

Gwinnett County's water regulations remain unchanged, mirroring state drought policies. Outdoor watering is prohibited from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and residents with even-numbered addresses can water only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. All outdoor water use is banned on Fridays.

Lake Lanier received a significant boost in its water surface level, said Brad Fogle, a park ranger with the Army Corp of Engineers. But although it gained a quarter foot of water, it remains almost 6 feet below its target level.