Southeast mostly drought-free, Alabama and Georgia worsening
The Southeastern United States is mostly free of drought, but a new federal assessment shows conditions are worsening slightly in Georgia and Alabama.
A new map released by the U.S. Drought Monitor last week showed about one-third of Georgia is either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought. About one-quarter of Alabama has the same problem.
Statistics show both states were less arid the week before. The biggest problem areas are southeastern Georgia and northwestern Alabama, where multiple counties in each state are abnormally dry.
Conditions are either unchanged or improving in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Forecasters say a broad area of moisture associated with the remnants of Hurricane Willa had the potential to spread rain across the region last week as it moved eastward. The area did get showers, though by last Friday it was more drizzle than downpour.
Polk County’s conditions in the fields as the cotton crop was coming in and harvest season wrapped up were still dry overall, according to Polk County Extension Coordinator Ricky Ensley.
Ensley said that a prolonged period without steady rainfall has left the county some .75 inches below where it should be in the water table for 2018. Conditions weren’t quite as bad as in 2016, when a long drought that lasted from the early summer through to the early winter promoted conditions for wildfires.
“I checked with the Rome based weather station. According to that station we have had 2.29 inches of rain in October,” he said. “We prefer to average an inch per week”
He did notice the problems when he was busy at work helping the Cedartown Tree Commission with a forthcoming planting.
“I realized today (Oct. 25) how dry our soil was when we dug some holes for trees in Peek’s Park,” Ensley said in an e-mail. “The top 2 inches of soil was dry. This should not affect plant growth. The farmers would like for it to be dry for a few days as they harvest corn and cotton.”
A black bear looks out of a trap he was caught in by a research team from Auburn University.