Getting by with a little help from last month

The chart shows hourly Doppler radar estimates of rainfall for the Hartwell sub-basin in May.

Still on the mend from a two-year drought, the Savannah River Basin came roaring back in May, only to sputter out as the summer officially arrived.

May is not normally considered a wet month, but the basin boasted near record-setting amounts.

Each of the sub-basins doubled its average, with Hartwell at 9.6 inches (average: 4.6), Thurmond, 7.4 (average: 3.7) and Russell 7.1 (average: 3.7). The precipitation was so excessive it rivaled some of the maximum amounts in the wetter months.

In the past 70 years, Hartwell and Thurmond have only collected more rain in May once (Hartwell: 11.8 inches in 1976; Thurmond: 7.8 inches in 2003). This was Russell’s third best showing to date after receiving 7.9 inches in 1972 and 7.4 inches in 1976.

But with every crest comes a trough.

While definitely not the worst, June’s precipitation stood in stark contrast to May’s. Thurmond received the most with 3.5 inches (versus its 3.8-inch average), while Hartwell and Russell hovered around 3 inches (3 and 2.9 versus 4.7 and 3.8-inch averages, respectively).

A similar deluge & retreat situation occurred about six months ago, where the sub-basins greatly exceeded their averages in October only to fall depressingly short in November.

Hartwell, the most extreme, went from 7.7 inches in October to a paltry 0.8 inches in November. Russell and Thurmond barely eclipsed the 1-inch mark after posting above average numbers as well.

Based on the current projections and seasonal averages, the outlook for the next few months isn’t all rosy. However, May’s surplus rainfall along with a light spring boost was enough to put us in a solid position heading into the dog days of summer.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

About US Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multi-million dollar military construction program at 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina. We also manage water resources across the Coastal Georgia region, including maintenance dredging of the Savannah and Brunswick harbors; operation of three hydroelectric dams and reservoirs along the upper Savannah River; and administration of an extensive stream and wetland permitting and mitigation program within the state of Georgia. Follow us on Twitter @SavannahCorps and on Facebook.com/SavannahCorps
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