Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

Summer thunderstorms led to variable rainfall in June 2018

Warmer than normal temperatures in June across the state helped contribute to the development of frequent thunderstorms in the month of June. These storms produced scattered but sometimes heavy rain, causing flooding in some areas while leaving other areas, mostly in the southern half of the state, below normal.

In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 79.8 degrees F (2.5 degrees above normal), in Athens 79.3 degrees (1.8 degrees above normal), Columbus 81.5 (1.6 degrees above normal), Macon 80.5 (1.6 above normal), Savannah 82.1 (2.3 above normal), Brunswick 82.5 (2.2 above normal), Alma 82.0 (2.3 above normal), Augusta 80.4 (1.8 above normal), Albany 82.7 (2.1 above normal), Rome 79.0 (3.0 above normal), and Valdosta 80.1 F (0.7 degrees above normal).

While no temperature records were broken in June, Brunswick tied their record highs on June 11 with 98 F (which previously occurred in 2009) and on June 23 with 96 F (which previously occurred in 1950).

The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 7.28 inches in Athens (3.10 inches above normal) and the lowest was in Savannah with 2.57 inches (3.38 inches below normal).  Atlanta received 3.86 inches (0.09 inches below normal), Columbus received 5.74 inches (2.02 above normal), Macon 3.32 inches (0.74 below normal), Augusta 5.19 inches (0.47 above normal), Alma 4.45 inches (0.93 below normal), Brunswick 3.52 inches (1.32 below normal), Valdosta 5.79 inches (0.27 below normal), Albany 3.08 inches (1.86 below normal) and Rome 4.71 inches (0.61 above normal).

One precipitation record was set in June. On June 24, Augusta received 1.57 inches of rain, breaking the old record of 1.35 inches set in 1884.

The highest daily rainfall total from CoCoRaHS observers was 7.75 inches near Sautee in White County on June 1. This rain actually fell on the afternoon and evening of May 31, but was properly reported as a 24-hour amount on the morning of June 1. A lot of local flooding was seen with this downpour. This was followed by 5.55 inches measured at Thomson in McDuffie County on June 27 and 3.64 inches reported on June 3rd in Darien in McIntosh County.  The Sautee observer also had the highest monthly total with 12.33 inches reported.  It was followed by 12.08 inches measured at Winder in Barrow County and 9.24 inches in Ringgold in Catoosa County.

No tornadoes were observed in June 2018 in Georgia, but there were 20 days on which at least one report of high winds was received. Some of those were isolated incidents but many covered significant swathes of the state. Hail was observed on three days and was mostly small in size. Sadly, one death was reported from a storm on June 25 when a tree fell on a tent at a Boy Scout encampment in Newton County, killing a Texas teenager who was participating in a week-long jamboree there.

No drought or abnormally dry conditions were reported by the Drought Monitor in June, although some dry soils were noted in the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin in counties that had below normal precipitation.

Wet conditions early in the month forced some farmers to switch from peanuts to soybeans or cotton. They also caused some problems with sprouting of wheat, which reduced quality and prices. As things dried out later in the month, farmers were going full tilt to get their last crops in the ground and spray for weeds and fungal diseases whenever the rain allowed. Hay showed good growth from all the rain and the increase in sunshine from May’s cloudy conditions, and producers worked hard to get it harvested during the drier periods.

The outlook for July shows that warmer and wetter conditions are likely to continue for most of the next 30 days, although cooler temperatures may return later in the month. For the July through September period, the climate predictions continue to lean towards above normal temperatures. Precipitation forecasts show equal chances of above, below or near normal rainfall due to the expected switch from neutral to El Nino conditions later in summer, which could help suppress the development of tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin.

For more information please see the “Climate and Agriculture” blog at https://site.extension.uga.edu/climate/. Please feel free to email your weather and climate impacts on agriculture to share on the blog to pknox@uga.edu.