Warmer-than-normal temperatures and seasonal precipitation helped farmers in April

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Farmers in the southern half of Georgia benefited from drier conditions this April, while producers in the soggy northern half of the state are still working to prepare fields for spring planting.

Rainfall was variable across the state throughout the month, with dry conditions across the southeastern part of the state and a streak of wet conditions stretching from north of Columbus to the northeastern corner of the state due to a strong low-pressure center that passed through the state mid-month.

The slightly drier-than-normal conditions and warmer temperatures in southeastern Georgia helped agricultural producers make a lot of progress in crop planting and chemical treatments.

The dry conditions did cause problems for small grains, which were impacted by the lack of moisture, but some farmers were able to get in their first cutting of hay. Areas that were affected by wet conditions mid-month saw a temporary slowdown in field work while they waited for soils to dry enough to support heavy equipment.

Precipitation was near normal across the central part of Georgia in April, but wetter than normal in the far north between Columbus and Rabun County. Most of that rain fell on April 19 as a strong low-pressure center passed through the state. The highest monthly total precipitation measured by the National Weather Service was 6.34 inches in Atlanta, 2.98 inches above normal. The lowest was in Brunswick with 2.06 inches, 0.43 inches below normal.

  • Athens received 3.38 inches, 0.23 inches above normal.
  • Columbus received 4.36 inches, 0.81 inches above normal.
  • Macon received 2.90 inches, 0.06 inches below normal.
  • Savannah received 2.49 inches, 0.58 inches below normal.
  • Alma received 2.28 inches, 0.53 inches below normal.
  • Augusta received 3.01 inches, 0.17 inches above normal.
  • Rome received 3.71 inches, 0.34 inches below normal.
  • Albany received 2.95 inches, 0.69 inches below normal.
  • Valdosta received 2.08 inches, 0.79 inches below normal.

Daily rainfall records were set in Atlanta and Athens on April 19, with observations of 3.37 inches beating Atlanta’s old record of 1.45 inches set in 1940 and 2.14 inches surpassing the Athens record of 1.75 inches set in 1943.

The highest 24-hour rainfall total reported by Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network observers in April was 6.18 inches recorded south of Toccoa in Stephens County on the night of April 19, followed by 6.13 inches recorded west of Carnesville in Franklin County the next morning.

The highest monthly rainfall total recorded was 9.75 inches, measured by the Carnesville observer, followed by 9.58 inches recorded in Rabun Gap in Rabun County.

After a cool March, the heat returned to Georgia in April. No daytime temperature records were set during April, but Savannah and Brunswick reported daily records for high nighttime low temperatures on April 14, when the low temperature at each station only fell to 71 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the record of 70 F set in 2015.

Alma tied the city’s record for high nighttime low temperature of 69 F on April 13, with 72 F breaking the old record of 69 F set in 1994.

Most of the state experiencing temperatures that were two to three degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

  • In Albany, the monthly average temperature was 68.1 F, 1.9 degrees above normal.
  • In Alma, the monthly average temperature was 67.8 F, 1.6 degrees above normal.
  • In Athens, the monthly average temperature was 63.9 F, 2.2 degrees above normal.
  • In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 65.3 F, 3.3 degrees above normal.
  • In Augusta, the monthly average temperature was 66.0 F, 3.3 degrees above normal.
  • In Brunswick, the monthly average temperature was 69.3 F, 2.8 degrees above normal.
  • In Columbus, the monthly average temperature was 66.5 F, 1.9 degrees above normal.
  • In Macon, the monthly average temperature was 65.3 F, 1.9 degrees above normal.
  • In Rome, the monthly average temperature was 63.4 F, 3.6 degrees above normal.
  • In Savannah, the monthly average temperature was 67.8 F, 2.2 degrees above normal.
  • In Valdosta, the monthly average temperature was 66.6 F, 0.7 degrees above normal.

Severe weather occurred on six days in April. Isolated strong winds and hail occurred on April 6, 8 and 9.

On April 14, four tornadoes occurred, including EF-1 tornadoes in Lamar and Colquitt counties. The major outbreak of severe weather occurred on April 18 and 19, with many reports of damaging winds along with four weak tornadoes in Lauren, Camden, Fulton and Hall counties.

The outlook for May and for the May through July period shows that temperatures for the next three months are expected to be warmer than normal. Precipitation is expected to be above normal in the three-month period but leans toward only slightly wetter-than-normal conditions in May. If wet conditions occur, the current dry conditions would be expected to go away as the growing season progresses.

For more information, please see the climate and agriculture blog at site.extension.uga.edu/climate. We are also on Facebook at SEAgClimate and on Twitter at @SE_AgClimate. Please feel free to email pknox@uga.edu your weather and climate impacts on agriculture to share on the blog.

Pam Knox serves as University of Georgia Agricultural Climatologist with UGA Department of Crop and Soil Science.
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