Weather Summary for 2018
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Back in December and already this year there’s been a lot of talk about how wet it’s been in the last year and while I agree with the comments I’ve been getting, I thought I’d do a little investigating and use facts to report on the weather of 2018. My data is coming from the UGA AEMN area weather stations.
The Automated Environmental Monitoring Network (AEMN) in Georgia was established in 1991 by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The objective of the AEMN is to collect reliable weather information for agricultural and environmental applications. Each station monitors air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction, soil temperature at 2, 4, and 8 inch depths, atmospheric pressure, and soil moisture every 1 second. Data are summarized at 15 minute intervals and at midnight a daily summary is calculated. A microcomputer at the Georgia Experiment Station initiates telephone calls to each station periodically and downloads the recorded data. The data are processed immediately and disseminated via the internet at www.weather.uga.edu.
We are fortunate to have three reporting stations in our area. They are Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay, Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center in Blairsville. For the purpose of this article, data has been averaged, but you can visit the web site and get more details and up to the minute weather.
Since rain has been the topic of conversation lately, let’s look at that first. In Blairsville, the total rainfall for 2018 was 76.01 inches and there were 164 rainy days. In Blue Ridge, the rainfall was 74.89 inches and 185 rainy days. In Ellijay there was 79.12 inches of rain and 168 rainy days. The average for our area is around 62 inches, but the statistic that stands out is the number of rainy days. During rainy days the plants did not receive good sunlight and that affects plant growth.
In looking at the month of December in 2018 Blairsville received 10.96 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. Blue Ridge received 11.21 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. Ellijay received 10.92 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. This may seem like a lot of rain, but back in 2015 Blairsville got 13.35 inches of rain with 13 rainy days. Blue Ridge got 16.57 inches of rain with 16 rainy days. Ellijay got 16.04 inches of rain with 17 rainy days. 2015 was not that long ago, but it seems we have gotten more rain lately. It might be the number of rainy days that is making us think we are getting more rain that we actually are getting.
As for temperatures the average maximum temperature in Blairsville was 68.53 and the minimum was 47.26. The overall average was 57.23 which is about normal, but the number of days below 32 was 761 which is up from before, but below 2015. In Blue Ridge the average maximum temperature was 68.12 and the minimum was 48.46 and the overall average was 57.59, which is also about normal. The number of days below 32 was 699 which is up from before, but also below 2015. In Ellijay the average maximum temperature was 69.17 and the minimum was 48.81 with an overall average of 58.48 which is about normal. The number of days below 32 was 625 which is above earlier years except for 2015.
In conclusion the UGA weather stations are a great resource for information that provide facts about our weather conditions and now when people ask if it’s ever been this wet, you have the facts to say yes. If you need more information or different facts, visit the website and explore, or contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
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Chattahoochee National Forest
November 12, 2016
Rough Ridge Fire Information: 470.208.2839
An area of high pressure will build into the region from the north and bring east to northeast winds today and freezing temperatures tonight. Maximum Temperature is 62F. Minimum Relative Humidity will 30%. Winds are expected to be East 6 – 11 mph then becoming 4-9 mph around 11am. Smoke will start settling in low areas around 7pm.
Yesterday: The monitor in Ellijay recorded hourly concentrations classified as very unhealthy, while drifting smoke resulted in a moderate AQI in Chatsworth and Blue Ridge.
Today: The upper level winds (5 to 7 miles per hour) are slowly dispersing the smoke in a southwesterly or westerly direction. Communities in the flow of the smoke may experience very unhealthy air quality.
Smoke impacts should be low in most of the communities listed below with the predicted weather pattern and anticipated fire behavior.
Tomorrow: Winds speeds will increase slightly (upper level winds between 6 to 8 miles per hour) and switch direction from Chatsworth/Eton to Benton and Ocoee and then Blue Ridge. These communities may experience an AQI of code orange or red.
Winds will disperse the smoke away from McCaysville.
Smoke will disperse towards Blue Ridge after the sun sets on Sunday.
Winds will disperse the smoke away from Ellijay.
Chatsworth and Eton
Today, already recorded hourly concentrations classified as very unhealthy. Smoke from wildfire dispersing towards Chatsworth and Eton today and a portion of tomorrow.
Benton and Ocoee, TN
Early tomorrow morning the winds shift toward Benton and Ocoee, TN.
Disclaimer: Weather and fire activity may change quickly and alter these air quality predictions. AQI estimates for the communities do not represent a full 24-hour period but, rather, reflect a period within the day where smoke impacts would be greatest.
Air Quality Index
What the Index means for your health with regards to particulates from smoke
Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.
Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.
Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.
Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Compared to other parts of the state, we have been fortunate to receive a fair amount of rain lately. The rain has been very beneficial to our crops, gardens, and landscape, but as you know, there has been a downside. The rain has come with storms and many trees have suffered broken limbs. Taking care of these trees needs to be handled carefully.
Before you begin any work, safety is the number one priority. Be aware of your equipment. If you are using a power saw, have you read the owner’s manual and been trained on how to use the equipment? Are the safety features working properly and is the chain sharp? Is the blade sharp on a hand saw, or other equipment that you are using? Loppers can also be sharpened and should be kept sharp to make your work easier and make a cleaner cut. Quite often we are in a hurry which is when accidents most likely occur, so please make sure you take care of these things before you start.
Bent limbs and trunks can snap in different directions when they are cut, so make sure you are cutting in the right place. It may require an extra cut to remove some of the pressure, but that time can be well spent as opposed to the limb jumping back in place and sending the saw back against you.
When working on trees that have broken limbs, keep in mind that the limb needs to be removed close to the trunk. If it’s a big limb, it may require a three cut process to prevent the bark from splitting down the length of the trunk. The first cut should be on the underside of the limb a few inches from the trunk. This cut should only go a third of the way through the limb. Next, move a few inches out and cut through the entire limb. The cut from the bottom will prevent it from splitting the bark down the trunk of the tree. The third and final cut should be done next to the trunk at the swollen collar area. This will help the tree heal over the area from the removed limb.
For smaller limbs, cut them back to either the trunk or a side branch. If a portion of a limb is left sticking out, it will usually die back to the side branch and will serve as a pathway for insects and diseases to enter the tree, so make a clean, close cut next to the trunk.
After you have removed the broken and damaged limbs, try to balance the tree by removing limbs on the other side of the tree. This will help the tree continue to grow strong and will give it a better appearance. When removing limbs, remember that a limb is stronger with a 90 degree crotch angle. This refers to the angle that a limb grows out from the trunk. The 90 degree angle means that the limb grows straight out from the trunk. Limbs that have a smaller crotch angle grow almost straight up and have a tendency to split when they get bigger.
Even with small limbs, make sure that the cut is clean and slightly angled so that water will not gather on the cut surface. This helps prevent disease and insects from invading your tree. Finally, it is not necessary to use wound paint if the cut is made properly. Wound paints do not prevent decay. Wound paint can actually disturb and disrupt the ability of the tree to seal off wound sites. For more information about pruning trees, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
This information is from the National Weather Service. To see the full NWS Radar Image for Georgia please follow the link.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will push east through the weekend. Expect the moisture associated with TS Cindy to interact with a boundary that will move south across the region through Saturday night. Given the already saturated soils and plentiful moisture expected with this front, we may see more flooding issues, especially across north GA.
Over the past 24 hours, we have observed 1-3 inches of rainfall, mainly north of I-20. This will be the main area of concern in terms of flooding potential.
Flash Flood Watch is in effect across north GA (along and north of I-20).
From 2 PM this afternoon through 8 PM Saturday evening.
An additional 1-2 inches with locally higher amounts is possible, potentially within the metro Atlanta area and points north and west. This may lead to flooding in low lying and flood prone areas, especially in urban areas and along Interstate 20. In addition, creeks, streams and rivers may overflow their banks.
Even though we have finally gotten some rain, we should always be conscious about conserving water. In this time of extreme drought we need to be even more aware of how much water we use and waste.
Water supply planners estimate that a typical household needs 0.4 to 0.5 acre-feet of water per year (approximately 150,000 gal) to satisfy the typical demands of a home. However, we can get by on far less. Home water use varies considerably, depending on the number of people in a household, plumbing fixtures, appliances, lot size, and other factors.
The largest water users inside the home are toilets, clothes washers, faucets, and showers. Toilets made before 1993 use 3.5 to 8 gallons per flush (gpf). High efficiency toilets manufactured after 1993 use 1.6 gpf or less. The date of manufacture of most toilets is on the underside of the tank lid. A family of four can save 14,000 to 25,000 gal/yr by switching from conventional toilets to the newer, more efficient ones. Here are some suggestions to lower water use in toilets. Install vacuum assisted, low-volume toilets. Consider not flushing the toilet unless absolutely necessary. Regularly check for toilet leaks by placing food coloring in your toilet tank. Repairing leaking toilets can save more than 600 gallons of water per month. Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Make sure your toilet flapper does not remain open after flushing. Avoid using toilet bowl cleaners such as toilet tank tablets. These products affect the pH of water in your toilet tank and can cause leaks by damaging the rubber and plastic parts of your toilet.
Showerheads currently manufactured in the U.S. have a flow-rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. Here are some suggestions for increasing shower-use efficiency. Install a low-flow showerhead if you do not already have one. Keep your showers brief. Check the time you are in the shower so you know how long they last. A shower that lasts for five minutes using a low-flow showerhead uses 10 gallons of water while a 5 minute shower with a conventional shower head uses almost 13 gallons. Turn off the water while you lather up with soap and shampoo. Irrigate your indoor plants by placing a bucket in the shower to collect the water while waiting for it to warm up. Check the flow rate of your showerhead by using a 5-gallon bucket and a clock. Turn the shower on full and place a 5-gallon bucket under the shower for the amount of time you usually are the shower. Check and repair leaks in the tub diverter valve.
Install low-flow faucet aerators on all your household faucets. Some aerators can restrict flow to less than 1.0 gpm. Do not run the faucet continuously while washing dishes and hands, shaving, or brushing your teeth. Checking and repairing faucet leaks can save up to 140 gallons of water per week.
Conventional washing machines use between 35 to 50 gallons per load (gpl). The newer front-loading machines are more efficient and use between 18 to 20 gpl. Below are suggestions for reducing water use while clothes washing. Run the washing machine only when you have a full load of clothes. For lightly soiled laundry loads, use the shortest wash cycle. To avoid redundant washing, pre-treat stains on your clothes. Select the minimum water volume per load if your washer has a variable water volume setting. Regularly check washing machine hoses for leaks
Install a high efficiency dishwasher machine. Running the dishwasher only when it’s full can save 1,000 gallons of water per month. Running a full dishwasher usually uses less water than washing the same number of dishes by hand. Because the drying cycle of most dishwashing machines uses 1,500 watts per cycle, air or hand drying the dishes is more efficient and less expensive.
Just to give you an idea about how much water can be wasted take a look at these figures: 60 drops/minute = 192 gallons/month, 90 drops/minute = 210 gallons/month, and 120 drops/minute = 429 gallons/month. This article has been devoted to water conservation in the home. In the near future I will present an article about water conservation outside the home. Please note that some of the information in this article is from Colorado State Extension.
For more information, contact me at the Gilmer UGA Extension office.
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Gilmer County Extension Agent Fannin County Extension Coordinator
1123 Progress Road, Suite A 205 Church Street, Suite 1
Ellijay, GA 30540 Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Phone 706 635-4426 Phone 706 632-3061
Fax 706 636-4426 Fax 706 632-4718