ATLANTA - Rain fell in the city for a fourth consecutive day yesterday, assuring that 2007 would not go down as the driest year on record for the drought-stricken Atlanta area.
The most arid year ever recorded for Atlanta was 1954, when only 31.80 inches of rain fell.
Meteorologists had feared this year would have even less rain, predicting that showers yesterday morning would taper off. But the rain continued long enough to raise the 2007 cumulative rainfall to 31.85 inches. Dry weather was forecast for today.
More than one-third of the Southeast is in a severe drought. The Atlanta area is in the middle of the affected region, which includes most of Tennessee, Alabama, North and South Carolina, as well as parts of Kentucky and Virginia.
Hopes that Atlanta would escape a record-book entry this year rose as a parade of rainstorms began the week before Christmas. Atlanta got rain on 10 out of the last 12 days.
On Saturday morning, the 2007 cumulative rainfall total hit 30.5 inches, and an overnight soaking was on the way, fed by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
Yesterday morning, the weather service said it didn't look as though enough would fall during the day to match the 1954 level, seeming to guarantee a new record. But by yesterday evening, more than 1.25 inches had accumulated for the day.
Atlanta rainfall is measured at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, just south of the city. Rain has also been unusually sparse in other Georgia cities this year, including Athens, Columbia, and Macon. However, each of those cities has seen worse years than 2007, Stephen Konarik said.
The latest rain had only a small effect on the metropolitan area's main source of drinking water, Lake Lanier, where the receding water is exposing roads and the foundations of buildings submerged since the reservoir was created in the 1950s. "What's falling now won't show up until tomorrow or the next day," said Rob Holland, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the reservoir.