Habersham sees 9th-wettest year in history

With 2018 coming to a close, Habersham County wraps up another “wet” year of rainfall.

According to Joshua Palmer, senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service of Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Cornelia Cooperative NWS Site has received 67.12 inches of rain as of Dec. 4.

Palmer said this year of precipitation ranks ninth all time for the county. However, “all time,” dates back to 1919, when records for this site began. The “normal” amount of precipitation is 56.9 inches, he said.

It’s been a “wet year, nothing extreme,” he said. 

Although precipitation will vary across certain areas, Palmer said this precipitation measurement is “relatively” representative of Habersham County. Last year, Habersham County received 54.32 inches last year, which is considered a “slightly dry year.”

Neighboring counties with higher elevations have received more rainfall, which is common, according to Palmer. Some examples he provided included Clayton measuring at 83.9 inches through Nov. 30 at 12 a.m. and Helen at 84.63 inches.



What has caught Palmer’s attention is the recovery of Lake Hartwell due to water coming through the Tallulah River and North Georgia reservoirs. 

“The North Georgia reservoirs have gotten high on several occasions this year, and we’ve had some minor flooding as a result of high flows down the Tallulah River along the Habersham/Rabun County line,” he said. “It certainly has been an active year for the reservoir operators. I’m not aware of any significant flooding but it’s been an opportunity, more or less to recharge.”

He added that the past few years have been “rather dry” in Northeast Georgia. 

“And so now this wet year has come and we’ve been able to maintain good reservoir levels in the North Georgia projects and then also recharge Lake Hartwell which has been struggling to get the water back that it’s lost in previous drought years,” he said. “So, overall, I think we’ve definitely had some issues in Habersham and Rabun County. There has been some flooding, no doubt about it, but ... I don’t think anything extreme, nothing noteworthy or record-breaking at all.”

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