Drought Conditions Improve Slightly in Georgia | News
With all of the rain and tstorms we've experienced the past few days, some find it hard to believe we are still in a drought. The fact is, we ARE still in a drought. Our weather intern, Melissa LeFevre, a meteorology student at Georgia Tech, breaks down the latest numbers released today from the Drought Monitor. Here is her assessment:
It's been the same story for weeks now, afternoon showers and thunderstorms. We've seen everything from areas flooded, ponding on the highways, to trees falling due to the saturated ground. Neighbors say their yard can't handle more rain and we can't be in a drought anymore. Others say they haven't seen a drop with the belief that it's still a severe drought. So who is right? Who is wrong?
I've been researching the facts and I'm here to break down the numbers. The drought monitor was released today but was valid as of 7am EST on July 17th. In short, yes, we are still in a drought. But we can say that we have seen a recent improvement. Currently, 17.09% of the state is not in a drought. This is up from only 12.29% being drought-free last week. But what about the intensity of the drought condition around the state? There are 5 levels of intensity:
D0: Abnormally Dry
The greatest improvement has been in the D0-D4 percent area. We saw an improvement of 4.8% in this category. It begins to drop off after that. D1-D4 saw an improvement of 4.25% with percent area D2-D4 of 3.74%. But D3-D4 and only D4 saw an decrease of 0.54%. So for areas that were abnormally dry to moderately dry, they are seeing the results of the heavy rain, while areas that are in the severe to exceptional range, the heavy rain still has not made a dent in the drought levels. To some of you, these numbers may seem insignificant. But if you go back to July 12, 2011, we can say that the severity of the drought has lessened. We still have a long way to go. Looking at some of our major lakes, Lake Allatoona is still down 2.14 feet with Lake Lanier down 7.41 feet. Lake Hartwell, located on the Georgia/South Carolina border, is still down 9.68 feet.
For those of you in the metro Atlanta area, another point of interest is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Since January 1st, the airport has received 21.90 inches. Sounds like some good rainfall amounts, right? Well, we are still down 6.16 inches from the normal. Since June 1st, 5.37 inches fell. But that is still 1.98 inches in the negative from our normal values. July could break June's value, so we have that hope. Since July 1st, 3.09 inches has fallen which is only 0.31 inches below average. The numbers are improving. And though it is annoying to drive in the rain, or dash to your car from the supermarket, be thankful that we are receiving that rainfall. I've also attached the Drought Monitor for the entire United States, as you can see, our state is one of the hardest hit. It will be a long road till we are out of this, but these afternoon showers and thunderstorms are welcomed in my book.
Remember that umbrella!