It’s been called a storm, but officials are talking more about Beryl’s beneficial rain than any damage in this area.
“I don’t know about the entire state, but we’ve gotten plenty of rain here,” Robert Bell, Liberty County coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, said. “Some areas in Liberty County have gotten between 3 and 7 inches this weekend, and it’s still raining today. I think our problem is solved as far as any rain deficit goes.”
Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near the Florida-Georgia line early Monday with heavy rains and winds just below hurricane strength. Later in the day, it turned north and then northeast, tracking back across the Hinesville area. Along the way, though, it lost power and was downgraded to a tropical depression later Monday.
There have been reports of downed limbs and some areas without power in the area.
And, according to Bell, Beryl’s rain, combined with rain earlier in May, means coastal Georgia is no longer under drought conditions.
Mike Hodges, director of the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, agrees with Bell’s assessment, noting that although there was minor damage from the storm, particularly in Long County, its rains were beneficial to this area.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with what we’ve seen of this storm,” said Hodges. “There were a few trees down, and some of those fell on some power lines, which caused some fires. Damages were small though. Even the power outages we had were brief.”
Hodges grinned as he recalled telling the Courier only a few weeks ago that it might take a tropical storm to alleviate coastal Georgia’s drought.
A drought map produced by www.GeorgiaWeather.Net showed the entire state had some level of rain deficit on Saturday. At that time, Brunswick had the smallest deficit at -1.5 inches. Elberton near Lake Harwell had the greatest deficit at -13.4 inches. The rain deficit is determined by subtracting rainfall for the year from the average for an area.
Below-average rains have a direct affect on Georgia’s economy because of its affect on agriculture, which represents $65 billion of Georgia’s $786.5 billion economy, according to the Extension Service.