Front brings rain to drought-stricken Ge­or­gia

Down­pour fol­lows Per­due’s pub­li­cized prayer for rain

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Greg Bluestein

AT­LANTA — A cold front mov­ing through Ge­or­gia brought a sprin­kling of overnight rain to the parched north­ern hills of the state, but it was far from the drench­ing needed to bust the re­gion out of a record drought.

The rain came a day af­ter Geor- gia Gov. Sonny Per­due led a state vigil pray­ing for pre­cip­i­ta­tion. But the gov­er­nor said Thurs­day he was not “gloat­ing” about the rain­fall, which had been fore­cast by the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice a few days ago.

The front brought a “wide­spread swath of rain” late Wed­nes­day and early Thurs­day. Few places got more than an inch, said Vaughn Smith, a fed­eral me­te­o­rol­o­gist.

And while the rain was wel­come, Smith said it prob­a­bly did lit­tle to swell the record low lake lev­els across north Ge­or­gia.

“The ground prob­a­bly sucked it all up,” he said. “The ground is so dry, I se­ri­ously doubt if any of the lakes rose any.”

Ge­or­gia and its neigh­bor­ing states are caught in a drought that threat­ens pub­lic wa­ter sup­plies. The state cli­ma­tol­o­gist has said Ge­or­gia needs months of aboveav­er­age rain­fall to make up for it.

Per­due has or­dered wa­ter re­stric­tion, launched a le­gal bat­tle against the re­lease of wa­ter from fed­eral reser­voirs and ap­pealed to Pres­i­dent Bush.

On Tues­day, he joined three Protes­tant min­is­ters in an hour­long event on the steps of the state Capi­tol ask­ing the heav­ens for rain.

Per­due, in Canada Thurs­day on a trade mis­sion, called the brief show­ers an “af­fir­ma­tion.”

“Cer­tainly, we’re not gloat­ing about it. We’re thank­ful for the rain and hope­fully it’s the be­gin­ning of more,” Per­due said. “One rain won’t re­fill the reser­voirs. Frankly, it’s great af­fir­ma­tion of what we asked for.”

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