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Rain pulls state out of drought

LAWRENCEVILLE - The rainfall received statewide this past week ended most of Georgia's drought conditions, the state's top climatologist said Friday.

Now, Dr. David Stooksbury said, all of the peach state except for two key areas are out of drought.

"Several days of heavy rain across the southern two-thirds of the state have alleviated the remaining drought conditions in south Georgia," Stooksbury said. "The Lake Lanier and Lake Hartwell basins remain in moderate drought."

Stooksbury also said soil moisture, which is a good indicator for measuring drought conditions, is near normal statewide for early April. He also indicated that another good measure of drought - the rate at which streams flow - was well above normal across the southern two-thirds of Georgia.

"Daily record-high flows are being set on many rivers and creeks in southwest and south central Georgia," Stooksbury said. "The National Weather Service is issuing flood warnings for many rivers in the state."

Despite the Lake Lanier basin still being in moderate drought, the rainfall has continued to help Atlanta's main drinking source in raising its water levels. As of Friday, the lake was almost 10 feet below full pool with a measurement of 1061.05 feet above sea level. The lake is considered full when measured at 1071 feet above sea level, and the last time the lake was measured at less than 10 feet below full pool was Sept. 8, 2007.

According to Matt Sena, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, metro Atlanta's rainfall the last six months is about normal at 97 percent of what it has historically been. He said for the last 30 days though, the area has seen 159 percent of what it normally would see in terms of rainfall. He said that is helping make up for some of the drier months past.

"For the last 365 days, we're at 87 percent normal rainfall," Sena said.

He said metro Atlanta should get a break from the rain today, but said to expect morning and afternoon showers on Sunday, with a 60 percent probability of rain.