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Posted: June 7, 2011 9:13 p.m.

High temps to last through mid-August

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It's hot outside, and Covington residents are staying indoors, which is the safe place to be, but bad for business.

Square Perk Owner Andrea Smith said the downtown square has been dead since the constant 90-degree days hit a couple weeks ago, and State Climatologist David Stooksbury said Tuesday he expects the temperature to remain above average through at least mid-August.

"Activity on the square has been low for the past couple of weeks. If this is the heat we're going to have, Georgians are resilient, once they get used to it they'll get back out," Smith said, making sure to plug her cold drink options, iced coffee, milkshakes and smoothies.

Through Monday, the average high temperature this June has been 95.36 degrees, compared with a 30-year average high of 86.71.

According to georgiaweather.net, a nifty tool for this sort of research, the high temperatures so far this month in Newton County have been 97.1, 96.5, 95.6, 93.7, 95.8 and 93.6 degrees.

Hot? Yes. Record hot? No, but the hottest days are likely yet to come. Covington's highest-ever recorded June temperature is 105 degrees, which was set three times later in the month in 1930, 1931, and 1952. Covington's highest recorded temperature ever is 110 degrees, a mark set on July 8, 1927, according to Assistant State Climatologist Pam Knox.

The average high temperature for April (77.62 degrees) and May (83.58 degrees) this year were also well above the high in an average year.

It's not just the days that have been hot, as recent nighttime lows have barely been slipping below 70 degrees, compared to the usual low temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s.

It's the fourth-straight month that temperatures have been above average across Georgia, Knox said. It was the ninth-warmest spring in Atlanta in 130 years.

With the high temps came low rainfall, leading to drought across the state. According to georgiaweather.net, Newton County has had 18.16 inches of rain so far this year, below the average of 23.56 inches.

The dry conditions are expected to stick around through mid-August, Stooksbury said.

After that time, tropical weather is expected to pick up and Stooksbury said the 2011 hurricane season is expected to be more active than usual. Whether those storms make landfall will determine whether Georgia remains in drought.

In the meantime, high school graduate Melissa Greer, a worker at Scoops, urged residents to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and stay inside as much as possible, particularly Covington's air conditioned businesses.

Staff Writer Adhithya Rajasekaran contributed to this article.

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