State Climatologist says unusually wet weather caused by “cutoff”

Date: 2021-10-07 21:22:30

Pitts Park in Clarkesville is underwater. Roads are flooded. After such a beautiful week last week, what’s the reason?

State Climatologist Bill Murphy says Habersham can credit its unusually wet weather to a “cutoff,” a weather phenomenon where a cyclone in the upper level of the atmosphere sits in one spot for days and moves independently of the regular weather pattern. The cutoff collected a large amount of moisture from the Gulf before moving West, creating an unusual amount of rain for Habersham.

Pitts Park in Clarkesville is flooded, with water continuing to move inland. (Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

He says that the average rainfall for the entire month of October in Cornelia is usually around 4.76 inches, and right now, Cornelia has already tracked more than 5 inches. The amount of rainfall the county is seeing right now has already surpassed the average at only a week into the month, and that precipitation landed on already saturated soil.

Not only is Northeast Georgia’s soil already saturated, according to Now Habersham Weather Reporter Tyler Penland, but most streams in the area were already at or above normal height. This combination has caused water to overflow from rivers and streams, like the Soque River in Pitts Park and the Fry Branch River that feeds into Beaver Lake.

With more rain moving through tonight, the flood warning from the National Weather Service for the county will stay in place until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7. Clarkesville and Demorest are most likely to see flooding, per the NWS.

If you come across flooded roads, do not attempt to drive through them.

Murphy says there is hopeful news on the horizon, though. He says there’s no rain in the forecast for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The weekend looks sunny, and we (and the rest of nature) can look forward to drying off.

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