Rain across the western half of Georgia brought above-normal rainfall to that region of the state in August 2018. The high humidity associated with the rainfall allowed clouds to keep daytime temperatures low, while nighttime temperatures were a little above normal, resulting in average temperatures that were generally near normal except in the driest areas along the coast.

In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 79.7 degrees F (0.3 degrees above normal), in Athens 78.9 degrees (0.7 degrees below normal), Columbus 81.2 (0.7 degrees below normal), Macon 81.1 (0.2 above normal), Savannah 82.2 (0.7 above normal), Brunswick 83.2 (1.4 above normal), Alma 82.8 (1.5 above normal), Augusta 81.4 (0.9 above normal), Albany 82.2 (0.2 above normal), Rome 79.4 (0.7 above normal), and Valdosta 81.0 F (0.2 degrees below normal).

No temperature records were broken in August but Brunswick tied their daily high temperature of 97 F on August 9. This was last observed in 2011.

The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 9.28 inches in Albany (4.44 inches above normal) and the lowest was in Macon with 1.63 inches (2.47 inches below normal).  Atlanta received 7.59 inches (3.69 inches above normal), Athens received 4.36 inches (0.83 above normal), Columbus received 7.69 inches (3.92 above normal), Savannah 3.14 inches (3.42 below normal), Augusta 4.28 inches (0.04 below normal), Alma 2.55 inches (2.86 below normal), Brunswick 2.03 inches (4.24 below normal), Valdosta 7.12 inches (1.78 above normal), and Rome 7.66 inches (3.53 inches above normal).

Two daily rainfall records were set in August 2018. On August 2, Atlanta received 2.26 inches of rain, surpassing the old record of 1.80 inches set in 1909. On August 29, Columbus received 2.41 inches, breaking the old record of 1.50 inches set in 1923.

The highest daily rainfall total from CoCoRaHS observers was 4.92 inches northeast of Tignall in Lowndes County on August 1. This was followed by 4.16 inches measured near Sugar Valley in Gordon County on August 2 and 4.13 inches recorded in Fort Valley in Peach County on August 10. For the month, an observer east of Hellen in Habersham County reported 11.28 inches, followed by 10.84 inches from a Coweta County observer east of Newnan and 10.65 inches received near Lake Park in Lowndes County.

Two tornadoes were reported in August 2018 in Georgia. One was a brief EF1 tornado which caused damage near Social Circle in Walton County on August 1; the other was an EF0 tornado in Jones County on August 2 which caused tree damage in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge.  There were 16 days on which at least one report of high winds or hail was received. Damage from lightning was reported on four days and flash floods or heavy rain were reported on nine days.

In spite of the significant lack of precipitation in eastern parts of the state, no drought or abnormally dry conditions were reported in Georgia in August 2018.

Wet conditions early in the month caused problems for farmers trying to do field work but was generally good for most crops. Some hay production was limited until the end of the month, when a dry spell allowed many forage producers to make their last hay cutting of the year. Disease pressure has been low despite the high humidity and rainfall, but it increased by the end of the month. Some irrigation was needed for crops in the eastern half of the state where drier conditions prevailed, but most crops were in good condition as they close out the growing season.

The outlook for September shows that warmer and wetter conditions have a slightly increased chance of occurrence for the next 30 days. For the September through November period, the climate predictions continue to lean towards near normal temperatures, based on a combination of the long-term rising temperature trend offset by cooling from the expected El Nino clouds and rain. Precipitation forecasts show an increased chance of above normal rainfall this fall.

For more information please see the “Climate and Agriculture” blog at https://site.extension.uga.edu/climate/. You can also follow us on Twitter at @SE_AgClimate and on Facebook at SEAgClimate. Please feel free to email your weather and climate impacts on agriculture to share on the blog to pknox@uga.edu.

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