Above average temperatures return to metro Atlanta Tuesday after a chilly start to the week. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

37 days without rain, but clouds are coming


Today: Sunny. High: 64

Tonight: Mostly clear. Low: 34

Tomorrow: Late-night isolated shower. High: 65

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.

The clouds rolling in Tuesday evening bring a small chance of isolated showers, but it's been sunny and mild in metro Atlanta all day.

Tuesday is poised to be the 37th day without measurable rainfall in Atlanta. The record, set in 1884, is 39 days.

Temperatures were 53 degrees in Atlanta, 38 in Blairsville and 38 in Griffin just before 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The average high for this time of year is 61.

The next possibility for rain is Wednesday, when there is a 20 percent chance, Channel 2 Action News reported.

"We see the clouds in place, and then a couple of areas of some showers trying to develop," Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said.

But it's so dry, showers may evaporate before they make their way to the ground.

Another temperature spike is far more likely than rain on Thanksgiving Day. Temps are expected to reach the 70s, Minton said.

Above-average temperatures have been frequent weather features this year amid a historic drought in Georgia. Weather conditions have been so dry, 52 counties are now under stiff new watering restrictions.

The restrictions, which limit outdoor watering to two days a week, also ban power-washing homes and watering at outdoor fountains and car washes. They affect most of metro Atlanta and North Georgia.

Video: www.accessatlanta.com

Dry conditions and wind sent smoke from fires in the North Georgia mountains to parts of metro Atlanta on Monday. Southerly breezes brought relief Tuesday, according to Channel 2.

The Air Quality Index was a moderate 76 at 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to AirNow, which keeps track of air quality changes.

» The Air Quality Scale used in Atlanta:

“Good” AQI is 0 to 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

“Moderate” AQI is 51 to 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.

“Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” AQI is 101 to 150. Although the general public is not likely to be affected at this range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air. “Unhealthy” AQI is 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.

“Very Unhealthy” is AQI is 201 to 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.

“Hazardous” AQI is greater than 300. This would trigger a health warning of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

» Here are tips from the Georgia Department of Public Health:

Pay attention to local air quality reports and news coverage related to smoke.

Keep indoor air as clean as possible, keeping windows and doors closed.

Run an air conditioner, and keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean.

Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution such as vacuuming, burning candles or using fireplaces or gas stoves.

Do not rely on paper dust masks, which will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

Follow the advice of your doctor or other health care provider if you have asthma or another lung disease.

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