Drought reversal in North Georgia, South dry 

Posted: 5:01 pm Thursday, May 25th, 2017

By Kirk Mellish

After 11 consecutive months of drought in most of North and Central Georgia the April and May rains have brought a lot of relief.

1.6 million Georgia residents are under a drought classification, but most of those are in South Georgia, a big reversal from past months where the Mountains were in extreme drought or worse.

On a national basis the extent of drought is at it’s lowest since they started tracking it in 2000, at just 5% of the lower 48 states.

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 8.57.44 AM

Starting on May 20, periods of torrential rainfall struck many areas of the Southeast. On May 20 in Alabama, for example, daily-record totals reached 8.15 inches in Montgomery; 4.37 inches in Mobile; and 2.65 inches in Birmingham. For Montgomery, it was the wettest May day on record (previously, 5.23 inches on May 9, 1978), and the wettest day during any time of year since September 26, 1953—when 8.72 inches fell.

Due to the extreme nature of some of the recent Southeastern rains, drought improvements of one to locally two categories were noted. In Montgomery County, Alabama, which includes Montgomery, all dryness and drought was removed; last week’s depiction had included a mix of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1). Similar improvements were introduced in other Southeastern areas where heavy rain fell.

After the monitoring period ended, substantial rain developed across Florida’s peninsula and also spread across other parts of the Southeast. The rain that fell after 8 am EDT on May 23 will be reflected on next week’s map.

By the monitoring cutoff, however, conditions remained dire across Florida’s peninsula due to a combination of heat and drought. Tampa, Florida, achieved high temperatures of 98°F on May 17 and 19, tying a monthly record originally set on May 26, 1975. Tampa narrowly missed its all-time record of 99°F, set on June 5, 1985. The Southwest Florida Water Management District voted on May 23 to increase water restrictions in its 16-county jurisdiction, after reporting an 11-inch rainfall deficit since the start of the dry season last October.

This represents the district’s driest dry season, with records dating back more than a century. Among the new SFWMD restrictions is a once-per-week limit on lawn watering, with that mandate in effect through August 1, 2017.

Through May 23, year-to-date rainfall totals in Florida included 4.62 inches (35% of normal) in Orlando; 5.07 inches (47%) in Naples; 5.57 inches (52%) in Fort Myers; and 5.86 inches (51%) in Tampa. On May 21, Florida continued to lead the nation in topsoil moisture rated very short to short (78%) and pastures rated very poor to poor (60%).

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 8.57.03 AM

During the past 7 days in Georgia 3.4 Trillion gallons of rain has fallen, 4.9 the past 21 days, and over the past 30-days 5.5 Trillion gallons of rain has fallen over the state when you add it all up!

We started the week needing a lot more rain to eliminate drought entirely as seen in the map below:


We didn’t get it all but we got a lot.







Neighborhood amounts may be more or less than indicated above.

Soil moisture levels can change rapidly week to week even while streams and lakes hold up. Drought tends to increase chances of intense heat in summer, and of course hotter weather tends to intensify drought. The opposite is also true.

The top soil moisture based analog model called the Constructed Analogue system CAS reveals the impact on temperature/rain in upcoming months below:



FOLLOW ME on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB