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Drought Monitor 2017

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Despite recent rains a long term drought continues across the region. 

It’s been a couple months since we last visited the drought that has been persisting across Northern Georgia for the past year, and after a very dry February the last two months have seen drastic improvement across the entire southeast, including the state of GA.

During the month of March, Cornelia picked up 4.86″ of rainfall. This put the city some 1.13″ shy of monthly average, but compared to last March’s 1.5″ you can see this is a major improvement.  The month of April was also quite wet,with nearly every reporting station recording 6+” of rain during the month. Due to this, we’ve seen a major decrease in our 12-month deficit.

The map to the right highlights the latest from the Drought Monitor. You can see much of the state of Georgia remains under a drought, with most of Habersham County still considered in an “extreme drought”. Even though we’ve seen plenty of rain the past two months, the rolling 12-month deficit is enough to justify this. However, if you compare this to just the first week of March (below left) you can see a major improvement in our local area. In fact, just during the past week the “extreme drought” area dropped from nearly 4% of the state to just over 1.5%, and this is likely to continue shrinking (or disappear altogether) for the next week or two.

It is important to note that this IS considered a “long-term drought”, which considering the recent rain is not nearly as bad as where we sat
5-6 months ago (below right).

There continue to be numerous weather systems to track over the coming 7-10 days, and it doesn’t appear that we will be seeing any extended dry spells anytime soon. I expect to see the drought to continue improving over the coming weeks.

12 month rainfall deficits run anywhere from 20″ in Clayton to 15″ in Gainesville, with 3 month deficits in the 2-4″ range, mostly caused by the dry February. All stations saw major improvement (6+” on 12 month totals) from February to April in both categories.

Here are some of the local 12 month rainfall deficits as of 2/28/17 (with 2 month change in parentheses): 

 Clayton: -20.14″ (+7.83″)

Dahlonega: -19.53″ (+6.88″)

Toccoa: -16.88″(+8.83″)

Elberton: -15.31″ (+6.30″)

Gainesville: -14.91″ (+6.58″)

Cornelia: -22.49″ (+5.61″) *missing some data for April

For comparison, here are the 3 month rainfall deficits(as of 2/28/17) for the same stations:

Toccoa:-2.09″

Gainesville: -2.18″

Elberton:-2.25″

Dahlonega: -3.51″

Clayton: -4.51″

Cornelia: -5.19″ *missing some data from April

And here are a few of the current lake level deficits (as of 5/1/17):

Lanier: -7.87′

Hartwell: -7.69′

Chatuge:-1.67′

Russell: -.46′

Burton: -.14′

Stay with Now Habersham for the latest on the drought and other weather news and information.

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