Weekend rain brings much-needed relief

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, June 3, 2007

AUGUSTA, GA - Rain across Georgia and South Carolina this weekend, and even though Georgia is still in a severe drought, the rain did bring some relief, especially to our area.

More than three and a half inches fell, and that may be just enough to get us through the dry summer ahead.

Rain, rain, and more rain fell across the two state this weekend, our most significant rainfall in almost a month. It's what farmers across Georgia were holding out hope for after an extremely dry start to this year's growing season.

"This drought's been pretty tough. I've been in the farming business for 32 years," said farmer Jeff Gay.

But Chief Meteorologist Bob Smith says Tropical Storm Barry brought relief in a big way this weekend to our area.

"The distribution of the rain was pretty much the way we expected it, the heaviest rain along the coast and to south Georgia and those are the areas that really needed it, but never dreaming Augusta would have the bulk of the rainfall. I feel like a bandit. We taken all the rain and brought to our area, as you can see, Augusta over 3 1/2 inches of rain, but down in Savannah only an inch of rain."

It may seem odd since Tropical Storm Barry traveled along the coast, but Chief Meteorologist Bob Smith says it's hard to predict how the rain from a tropical storm will fall.

"The distribution of rain in a tropical situation tends to be rather erratic."

So what does this stormy surprise mean for us in the short term? Well, Augusta's good fortune will help our local farmers for now because as Smith says the rainfall should be enough to help soil moisture through mid July.

"This is the time we needed it right around the planting time and a little after planting time. If we only get a little bit of rain for the rest of the growing season we may get by with what we've got here."

But as for watering restrictions, don't expect those to go away anytime soon, as Georgia continues to suffer from a level two drought.

"If you look at the distribution of the rainfall, you can see that most of the state got very little rainfall. In fact, western Georgia and northern Georgia got very little, if any, rain and this is a statewide watering restriction," added Smith.

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