As we look back at 2020, it was certainly a wild weather year in Northwest Georgia. From tornadoes to a tropical storm and above average rainfall, here is a look back at how we finished weather-wise in 2020.
We finished 2020 with 58.93 inches of rainfall recorded at the Rome Airport and UGA Ag Weather Station off Bells Ferry Road recorded 59.46 inches of rainfall. According to the National Weather Service, this year was nearly 1-inch below the 2019 total of 59.73 inches. We were still above the normal yearly average of 51.92 inches. As we look ahead, NWS Meterologist Adam Baker says there is a 40% chance for above normal precipitation in January.
A lot of the 2020 rainfall came in the form of thunderstorms or tropical storms. We saw the leftovers of Tropical Storm Beta move through in September, followed by remnants of Tropical Storm Delta in early October and then Tropical Storm Zeta packed a punch over Northwest Georgia at the end of October bringing down trees and power lines all over the area.
Northwest Georgia saw a number of tornado watches and warnings this year. The worst system moved through on Easter Sunday, April 13, bringing at least four confirmed tornadoes across the area. Two EF-0 tornadoes touched down in Floyd County, an EF-1 tornado in Bartow, which killed one man, and an EF-2 tornado in Chattooga County. Summaries:
- Lindale/Floyd summary: Another EF0 tornado began near Maple Road in Lindale from the same storm that spawned the tornado in southwest Floyd County. The tornado traveled north-northeast approximately 3 miles resulting in spotty areas of tree damage and closing some roads and causing power outages. At the 3100 block of Rockmart Road, approximately a dozen small trees were snapped on the west side of the road. The tornado dissipated near the Callier Springs Golf Course. No structures were affected.
- Bartow summary: With 100-mph winds and traveling 13 miles, from west-southwest of Cartersville to east of White in 15 minutes, an EF-1 tornado swept through Bartow County early Monday (1:06-1:21 a.m.). The survey team concludes this was the storm that downed dozens of trees, including a large oak that fell onto a Fite Street that killed a 34-year-old man who was sleeping in the bedroom. The storm grew in intensity and leveled another 60 to 70 trees in the Pine Log area.
- Floyd summary: Packing 79-mph winds, the EF-0 tornado traveled no more than half a mile and was 50 yards wide. It touched down at 12:31 a.m. Monday two miles west-northwest of Cave Spring. Damage was mostly to trees at Melson Road west of the Ga. 100 intersection.
- Chattooga summary: It was EF-2 tornado with winds of 120-135 mph, was 800 yards wide and traveled nearly 16 miles. It touched down about two miles north of Summerville at 8:15 p.m. and lifted at 8:32 p.m. near LaFayette.
“We have seen a number of weather events this past year,” says Baker. “Looking ahead at the 3-month outlook, there is an almost equal chance of having above average or below average rainfall. But for the next month, it will probably be on the wetter side with 40% chance of above average precipitation.”
As we enter 2021, Northwest Georgia stayed in the clear of a storm system that brought severe thunderstorms and brief tornado warnings to Central Georgia on Friday. Here’s to calmer skies ahead in 2021.