GAINESVILLE - With the end of August, many scientists officially close the books on summer, and this year in Gainesville, summer began and ended on a mild note - and also ended on a wet one.
This summer was in sharp contrast to last year, which the then-state climatologist, David Sooksbury, reported was the warmest on record in Georgia. (See earlier story.) However, it was hot enough, early enough in other parts of the country this summer to prompt a new warning about global warming from some scientists. (See earlier story.)
The summer of 2012 began with eleven straight days of high temperatures in June in Gainesville that were at or below normal. In addition, the first 90-degree day didn't occur until June 22. But temperatures warmed considerably toward the end of the month, with what turned out to be the hottest days of the summer, according to readings at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport. It was 102 on both June 29 and 30, and July began with a 102 on the first day of the month, as well.
Even with last summer's record setting heat, Gainesville did not record any triple-digit readings.
July proved to be the hottest month of the summer this year, with above-normal highs on 22 of 31 days.
August brought with it a return to the kinds of temperatures Gainesville saw in June, with above-normal readings on only 11 of 31 days. August also produced an unusual amount of rain, 9.70 inches - more than twice the average of 4.40 for the month. Compare that to 2.37 in June and 3.86 in July... both below normal.
Georgia spent most of the summer months in the throes of a drought to one degree or another but by the end of August, parts of north Georgia and about 50 counties across south Georgia from the coast to Bainbridge - most of them in southeast and east central Georgia - had been declared drought-free.
In Northeast Georgia, conditions ranged from "abnormally" dry to "extremely" dry. In Hall County, Gainesville and most of the middle and northern parts of the county are considered in a "moderate" drought but for South Hall, the U.S. Drought Monitor classifies drought conditions as "severe." The hardest hit areas of the state are in east cenral, west central and west Georgia.