Metro Atlanta was in a severe drought Thurs., June 16, 2016. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Metro Atlanta in a severe drought

Metro Atlanta entered a severe drought Thursday, but it’s too soon to tell if it will be as dry as 2007, when conditions led to watering restrictions and record-low lake levels.

“This certainly warrants watching,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Katie Walls said, “but we’re not in 2007 territory yet.”

Last year was one of the wettest years on record, she said. Metro Atlanta ended 2015 with 68.38 inches of rain. The average is 48.95 inches.

“That gives 2016 a buffer,” Walls said.

As of Thursday, the metro area had received 21.50 inches of rain, Walls said. At this point in 2007, that number was 12.81 inches.

Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s main water source, was nearly full with an elevation of 1,068 feet this week, according to the National Weather Service.

That’s almost 20 feet above lake levels in 2007 when then-Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a drought emergency, imposed strict restrictions on lawn-watering and publicly prayed for rain.

Forecasts show little rainfall and plenty 90-degree days ahead this summer.

“Models suggest a hot and dry summer …,” meteorologist Karen Minton said. “… We will see if we get into similar situation.”

In addition to metro Atlanta, the Palmer Drought Index has Calhoun and areas northwest of Calhoun in a severe drought.

Learn more

Drought information and current water restrictions for metro Atlanta

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