Friday, November 15, 2019
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How is Georgia doing as the drought eases in most of the south-east?

Rain has returned to the southeastern region, pulling many areas of drought. For the first time since mid-September, the extreme drought has ended, although moderate to severe drought remains in several states, including parts of Georgia.

"Although there remains a significant drought in northern Georgia, rains are steadily progressing," said Ryan Willis, a weather forecaster at Peachtree City's National Weather Service.

The flash drought hit the region this year. In October, some areas received above-average rainfall amounts of up to 6 inches, but Georgia did not receive its share.

Notable areas with scattered rainfall are parts of northern Georgia, from Atlanta to Athens and just north of Augusta to Columbia, South Carolina. "Unfortunately, this region has been very affected by this rapid drought and rainfall has been very close to normal and sometimes even slightly below normal," said Chip Conrad, director of Southeast Regional Climate. Center.

While most of North Georgia is monitored / warned by the National Meteorological Service until Saturday morning, nightly minimums are expected to fall in the 20s to 30s, announcing that winter conditions are imminent.

Conrad said this is the time of year when droughts are improving, but if these areas are not recharged before winter, conditions could become favorable in the spring.

The drought also had an impact on the water levels of lakes and watercourses. Georgia has recorded record highs and amounts of water in the past month, but has since recovered, said Todd Hamill, a hydrologist with the Weather Forecast Center of the Southeast National Weather Service. However, in North Georgia, Lake Lanier is almost 3 feet below normal for this time of year, he said.

Georgian farmers have had to deal with drought-related crop losses, but it is unclear how much they have lost, said Pam Knox, agricultural climatologist at the University of Georgia.

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"The rain last month relieved some farmers but not all," she said. Some peanut producers struggled to extract peanuts from the soil, while in other areas heavy rains forced groundnuts to leave the vineyards and sow them in the soil, which caused reduces yields, said Knox.

And the problems are not over yet.

"It's a little misleading to get 5 inches (rain) a day, because a lot of it does not really get into the ground. It works right now and so it might be good for tanks, but it does not do much for soil moisture, "Knox said.

Overall, the rain improved conditions for autumn planting and allowed crops to advance on normal, but Knox warns that farmers in southwest Georgia, another region lacking rain , could still face big problems.