St. Simons Sunset
Sunset at St. Simons Island Pier in late August 2013. Image Credit: Chris Davis

The recent taste of fall this past weekend across North Georgia reminded us that fall is fast approaching. The start of college and NFL football, in addition to playoff baseball on the horizon, serves to heighten the realization that the seasons are about to change. With all of this in mind, it’s time to look in the rearview mirror and assess the 2013 summer in Georgia.

June-August Precipitation Ranks Graphic
June-August Precipitation Ranks. Image Credit: NOAA

Precipitation:

If you remember anything about the summer in Georgia, one word probably comes to mind: “wet.” Wet, indeed. How wet? The above graphic from NOAA ranks the 2013 June to August period with a number from 1 to 119. 1 indicates the driest period on record for that timeframe while 119 indicates the wettest for the same period. And, there’s Georgia, with a ranking of 119, meaning that the 2013 summer period of June to August is the wettest such period on record. Let that sink in for a second. In fact, the Southeast as whole, for the same time period, registered a 119 ranking. Let’s take a more detailed look at Georgia.

Seasonal Precipitation Totals for Jun-Aug.
Seasonal Precipitation Totals for Jun-Aug. Image Credit: NOAA

Let’s take it city by city. 12.18 inches in Athens for June through August is the norm, but the same period in 2013 saw 23.08 inches of rain recorded, good enough for 7th wettest. Atlanta (4th wettest) was similarly as wet as Athens with 23.29 inches recorded compared to the average 13.12 inches. However, Central Georgia was even wetter. Macon saw nearly 30 inches of rain which was a 16.33 inch departure from normal. This was their 2nd wettest June to August period on record. Columbus recorded nearly 25 inches of rain on their way to their #1 wettest June to August period on record. It was a very wet summer, indeed.

Precipitation Notables:

  • June was the wettest on record in Macon and the 4th wettest in Atlanta.
  • August was the 2nd wettest on record in Macon and 4th wettest in Columbus.
  • On August 14th, Columbus observed 5.73 inches of rain which broke the record of 2.04 inches in 1952 and is also the 2nd wettest day on record in Columbus, just short of the 5.74 inches of rain in 1981.
Precipitation Extremes for June-August 2013
Precipitation Extremes for June-August 2013. Image Credit: NOAA

When you receive some of these rainfall totals in one day, it’s easy to see how Georgia garnered its wettest June-August period on record.

 

Year-To-Date Precipitation vs. Yearly Average:

Year-To-Date Precipitation vs. Yearly Average
Year-To-Date Precipitation vs. Yearly Average. Source Credit: NOAA

As of September 15th, 2013, the four main recording stations in Peachtree City’s county warning area had recorded more precipitation than their yearly averages. Athens, Atlanta, and Columbus are pretty close to their yearly averages while Macon has completely shattered its yearly average by ~13 inches. We still have 3 and half months to add on these totals too!

 

Temperature: 

June-August Temperature Rankings
June-August Temperature Rankings. Image Credit: NOAA

Just like the precipitation image in the above section, the same ranking convention is used to describe temperatures from June through August 2013 in this image. A ranking of 1 in this image indicates the coldest June through August period on record while 119 indicates the warmest such period. Overall, the Mid South and Southeast recorded a cooler than average June through August period while the West Coast saw a warmer than average period over the same time period. Georgia observed its 20th coolest period during a June through August period on record. Why cooler than average? That would be the rainfall. With the amount of rain that fell, many days were overcast and cloudy, and when it did rain, temperatures were knocked down as well.

Seasonal Average Temperature and Rankings
Seasonal Average Temperature and Rankings. Image Credit: NOAA

How cool was it? The average temperature for Athens in a June through August period is 79.3ºF (Note: This average includes both high and low temperatures). For this period in 2013, Athens recorded an average temperature of 77.2ºF which is the 15th coolest such period and the coolest since 1967. Atlanta was cool as well, but not as cool as Athens, only recording its 56th coolest June through August period. Columbus also saw it’s coolest June through August period since 1967 with an average temperature of 80.2ºF. Macon observed its 9th coolest on record, however, with an average temperature of 78.6ºF. This was the coolest period since 1910.

 

Days At or Above 90ºF:

Days at or above 90ºF
Days at or above 90ºF. Image Credit: NOAA

The number of days where the temperature rises to or above 90ºF is usually used to gauge the severity of a summer. With Georgia recording its 20th coolest June through August period on record, you can expect that the number of 90 degree days were few and far between, and that was the case. In 2011, all of the notable recording stations observed 80-88 days at or above 90 degrees. That number dropped in 2012, into the 40s in North Georgia and into the 60s into Central Georgia. In 2013, it dropped even more. Athens (18, 6th fewest) and Atlanta (15, 28th fewest) saw their number of 90 degree days dwindle into the teens. Columbus (44, 6th fewest) and Macon (40, 10th fewest) had their number of 90 degree days drop into the 40s. In the right hand column is the average number of 90 degree days for a June through August period. As you can see, there was a pretty big departure from normal for most of the recording stations.

Summer 2013 Bottom Line:

The 2013 June through August period in Georgia was the wettest on record and the 20th coolest on record. Precipitation totals in Atlanta, Athens, Macon, and Columbus met and exceeded the average annual precipitation by August and early September. The number of 90 degree days at these locations were also significantly less than the average number of 90 degree days expected. With that said, what can you expect for fall?

 

Fall 2013 Outlook:

September-November Temperature Outlook
September-November Temperature Outlook. Image Credit: NOAA
September-November Precipitation Outlook
September-November Precipitation Outlook. Image Credit: NOAA

Based on the three month outlook for the September through November time period issued by the Climate Prediction Center in August, it appears that Georgia should expect an equal chance for temperatures to be around normal, above average, or below average. Precipitation will have an equal chance of being normal, above average, or below average as well. The 2013 summer in Georgia proved to be very interesting with precipitation being the big story. What will be the big story for fall? Keep checking back here with us to see how it all unfolds!

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