Even with the rain across much of the southeast US this past week, the Drought Monitor updated on December 6th and released today, December 8th continues to show areas of Extreme to Exceptional Drought in the Southeast.
Latest Drought Monitor?
As shown below, the Drought Monitor released on December 8th highlights much of Alabama and Georgia in Extreme to Exceptional Drought conditions.
Even with the widespread rain since November 29th, much of Alabama and Georgia remained unchanged in the Drought category status as noted by areas of grey below. The areas in light green across parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, northern Alabama, the western Carolina’s as well as farther southern Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle did see improvement by at least one category. In addition, a small pocket in West Central Georgia also saw one to 2 category improvements.
Why Did the Rain Not Eradicate the Drought?
While widespread soaking rains of 2 – 4 inches fell between November 29th through December 6th, the regions with the heavier rain of 5+ inches were focused in northern Alabama, eastern Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle, Southeastern Alabama and into Southern Georgia. These are the areas that did see a change in the drought monitor status. (Note the drought Monitor is updated weekly on Tuesday but is not Issued until Thursday, so any rain that falls between that gap period is not included in that week’s update.)
Unfortunately while the broader rains were helpful, we still have significant longer term rainfall deficits that need to overcome to eradicate the drought. The precipitation departures for the past 90 days still show areas of 2 – 8 inch rainfall deficits with pockets of 8+ inch deficits. We still need more rain to break this drought!
When is the next chance of rain?
While the next few days will be dry, a cold front approaches for early next week which will bring some lighter rainfall.
What does the Continued Drought Mean for Farmers and Ranchers
While the rains last week were beneficial, the continuation of the Extreme to Exceptional drought reinforces that farmers and ranchers are still suffering from the dry summer and fall. While stock ponds have had some recharge, levels are not full. In addition our plants, winter crops and trees are still stressed from the prolonged dry periods. Finally, people still need to be vigilant to conserve water and be mindful of stray sparks that could start wildfires.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.