Will the recent significant rainfall top the 3rd highest crest on record?

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Friday, January 5, 2019
News 12 @ 6 O’clock / NBC 26 at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Savannah River at Lake Thurmond crested at 336.03 ft. on January 1st, 2016, the third highest crest on record and only half a foot short of the all-time record.

The historic crest to start 2016 was caused by a very wet December to end 2015.

Rainfall totals for December 2015 were over a foot for a lot of our area. Lake Hartwell releases to Russell, Russell releases to Thurmond, and then water is released from the Thurmond Dam into the stretch of the Savannah River. These three main reservoirs saw between 8-12" of rain during December 2015.

These impressive totals were between 5-8" above normal for December.

So, how does this compare to this year?

While there is a large swath of the North Georgia and the upstate of South Carolina that saw around a foot for December 2018, it was not as large compared to 2015 totals.

Rainfall totals for December 2018 were roughly 3-5" above normal for the month around the main lakes, which is why we are currently seeing high water, but not as high as January 2016.
The river is currently 328 ft at the Thurmond Dam, roughly 8 feet below early January 2016 levels.

Winter has been wet so far, but it does look like we will see below average precipitation into mid-January. The 6-10 day outlook gives most of the southeast a 40-50% chance of seeing below average rainfall.