Stepping into spring

The graph shows the monthly observed versus average rainfall for Hartwell Reservoir. Russell and Thurmond experienced similar “step-like” increases in rainfall since November 2017.

SAVANNAH, Ga. – For those watching the Savannah River Basin, last month’s precipitation was another step in the right direction. (Indeed, the data from the last few months seems to resemble a set of stairs, too.)Hartwell and Russell sub-basins exceeded their monthly averages for the first time since October (6.2 and 4.3 inches compared to their 5-inch and 4.1-inch February averages, respectively), while Thurmond posted a respectable 93 percent of its 4.3-inch average.

Each month the sub-basins seemed to build momentum. Hartwell’s numbers put it in the top 20 for February rainfall in the past 70 years.

All this precipitation came during what has traditionally been the rainy season and translated into more efficient increases in reservoir levels thanks to reduced evaporation and transpiration rates.

As a result, the basin appears to be making significant strides in its recovery from the 2016 drought: As of today, Hartwell is just inches below guide curve, while Thurmond is hovering less than 3 feet below guide curve.

While that might not seem so impressive outright, consider that Hartwell was nearly 10 feet lower less than two months ago. Because the reservoirs are treated as a single system, each of the sub-basin’s gains will eventually be balanced across the basin.

Looking ahead to March, the sub-basins are slightly behind the 50-percent mark for the month, but the ground is primed for the wettest month of the year.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

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
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