April is the new March

I’m normally pretty humble, but it’s hard to believe I wasn’t at least partially responsible for April’s stellar rainfall numbers.

Each of the sub-basins more than exceeded its average for the month, with Thurmond and Russell besting it by about 2 inches; Thurmond received 5.76 inches (average is 3.59 inches) and Russell, 5.52 inches (average 3.6 inches). Hartwell, which is normally the wettest, received 6.27 inches compared to its average 4.61.

April Rainfall ChartThese numbers were an even more welcome observation following the abysmal amounts the basin received in March, which is usually the wettest month. April’s precipitation was so strong, relatively speaking, that it was almost enough to make up for March’s deficiencies, but fell short by 0.6 of an inch (The basin as a whole was 6.45 inches under its average but received an additional 5.75 inches in April).

Though April’s numbers seemed outstanding, they still paled when compared to the intensity of rainfall in July 2013, where Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond were saturated with 13.53, 10, and 9.57 inches, respectively.

Historically, though, April 2015 ranked high compared to the same month in years past – each of the sub-basins received more rain in April this year than in the last 17 years. For Thurmond and Russell, this month ranked #9 and #11, respectively, for rainfall in April since 1948. Hartwell’s numbers for April were its 16th best.

So how did I contribute to these numbers? Last month I wrote, but didn’t publish, a “cloud pep talk” to make light of the dry March we experienced. Here’s an excerpt:

(The following is a transcript from a Savannah River basin locker room last week. No clouds were harmed during the discussion.)

Alright guys, bring it in. Pathetic. I can’t think of a more apt description for your dismal performance [in March]. “Wettest month of the year?” Pfft.

Hartwell, what do you have to say for yourself?


Look at your numbers: 50 percent. Not even 3 inches of rain for the entire month. In February, which had three fewer days, you still cranked out more than 4 inches.

… (berating continues)

Look, I know I’ve been hard on you guys – but it’s only because I know your potential.

Last year each of you reached or exceeded your average in April and May, and I think we can turn it around. It’s only the end of the first quarter, and I know you can do better. Get out there and make it rain.

Knowing how important we all take precipitation and lake levels, we decided this tongue-in-cheek approach in a dry month might seem flippant. As I reread it now, the jokes still aren’t funny, but perhaps they worked.

As we begin to move into the summer months, having a strong spring can make a difference in everyone’s quality of life. And whether the pep talk was the reason or not, every little bit counts.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Public Affairs Specialist

About U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multimillion 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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