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Why the wacky weather?
Low temperatures, rain cover area
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After almost a decade-long spell of consistently hot and dry weather, coastal Georgians may have recently noticed a string of wacky weather patterns bringing an unusual amount of rain and record-breaking low temperatures.
According to Robyn Brown, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist, on Monday Liberty County and the surrounding area experienced a record-breaking low temperature of 66 degrees.
“It broke the 1875 record of 71 degrees,” she said.
To further illustrate the area’s unexpected weather, the record comes on the heels of a noticeably wet spring, which nearly brought the state out of a decade-long drought that once plagued residents with water restrictions and depleted lakes.
“I think what we are seeing is a return to more normal patterns after a period of drought. The last decade was dry overall, but there were certainly some wet periods within it, particularly during the tropical storm seasons in 2004 and 2005,” said Pam Knox, assistant to the state climatologist said.
“My theory is that people’s expectations of weather reset after a year or two and so they have grown accustomed to dry conditions, forgetting that Georgia is a subtropical, humid climate where rain is supposed to happen frequently.  And isn’t it nice to see everything so green?”
So, just how much more rain has the area seen in comparison to the last years? In April 2009 there were 6.91 inches of rain and only 2.56 in 2008. In May 2009 there has already been 5.28 inches in compari-
son to 2008’s 1.32 inches.
Knox said when rain increases, however, weather patterns can get interesting as it often has a snowball effect.     
“Now that the soils are moist again, it is much easier to generate thunderstorms when we have a front or low pressure area move over Georgia.  During the drought, any thunderstorms would evaporate when they hit the dry area, but now they propagate nicely,” she said.
Liberty-Hinesville Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Hodges said the office monitors changing local weather. Noting strong increases in precipitation and wind, they’re watching conditions daily and are warning people of supersaturated grounds and rotting root systems, which could cause trees to fell.
“Be very aware of old trees that aren’t in the best shape,” he said.
Hodges is also on the lookout for thunderstorms.
“We’ve had a weird outbreak of tornadoes. We get them every spring, but not like this,” he said. “The whole spring has been unusual.”
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