Leaning into fall

Despite having two hurricanes slash across the Southeast in as many months, the Savannah River Basin managed to collect only modest amounts of rain in September and October.

In September as Hurricane Florence inundated portions of North and South Carolina, the sub-basins struggled to collect more than 60 percent of their average rainfall.

Russell suffered the most, collecting a meager 1.9 inches – just 51 percent of its 3.7-inch average.

(Some readers may recall Hurricane Florence was projected to drop between 4-7 inches on the basin. An Augusta Chronicle editorial even went so far as to call the Corps of Engineers “negligent” for not pre-releasing. Although we had ample space in our reservoirs, the basin once again benefited from us not releasing water unnecessarily.)

The following month, with help from Hurricane Michael, the sub-basins rebounded as each surpassed its average by about half an inch.

Hartwell received the most overall with 3.1 inches in September (versus its 4.6-inch average) and 4.5 inches in October (versus its 4.1-inch average).

And now that hurricane season is winding down (knock on wood), meteorologists with the Southeast River Forecast Center are predicting a warmer than average winter with slightly above average rainfall (perhaps) in their monthly Water Resources Outlook.

All the models point to return to normal December temperatures and precipitation in the Southeast thanks in part to a weak to moderate El Niño.

Although the basin has seen its share of ups and downs this year (In the bar graph below May looks like the first kid in the sixth grade class to get a growth spurt), we’re still on par to reach our cumulative average by the end of the year.

Savannah River Basin rainfall for the past year. Blue represents observed rainfall, red is average rainfall.

~ 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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