Georgia Drought Update July 7 2011 / Watching the Tropics

Little has changed from last week to this week. The exception being a couple counties in Southeast Georgia where they had decent amounts of rain. Those counties are now in Extreme Drought, where last week they were in Exceptional Drought. Without more rain in these areas, they will move back into exceptional drought.

Here in the local area drought conditions persist even with summer type scattered showers and storms. Here at the homestead over the past week I’ve had about 1½ inches of rain. At this time the illusion of green grass is misleading. Without continued rain the grass will once again dry out and turn brown. Soil moisture continues to be depleted.

Here are the current drought conditions in Georgia. Muscogee county is in Exceptional drought, while Harris county is in extreme drought. Localized drought conditions are teetering between these two extremes.

David Emory Stooksbury from the Georgia State Climatology Office had this to say about current drought conditions, and the outlook for summer 2011.

One of the best indicators of climate over a period of several weeks is persistence. Persistence means that the current climate pattern will continue for a period of time. Since Georgia has been warmer and drier than normal since March, the persistence outlook is for Georgia to remain warmer and drier than normal for the next several weeks.

An additional indicator is the current drought. Even with normal temperatures and rain during the summer, the soils across Georgia continue to dry, and stream flows drop. Even if Georgia receives normal rain this summer, the drought is expected to continue.

Drought and warmer-than-normal temperatures go together and typically reinforce each other. Dry soils mean that more energy from the sun heats the soil and the air above it. Warmer temperatures mean that the soils loose more water to evaporation and plant water use.

With drought conditions leading to higher temperatures, the current drought indicates an outlook of warmer-than-normal temperatures.

Complete article here: http://climate.engr.uga.edu/Summer_2011_Outlook.pdf

While there is no higher drought condition than ‘exceptional drought’, southwest Georgia and the Florida panhandle areas are worse than last week. To bring conditions back to normal, these areas now need ‘over 15 inches’ of rain, while last week they needed 12 to 15 inches. Our local area remains unchanged from last week still needing 9 to 12 inches of rain.

We are waiting on some type of tropical system to bring us much needed rain. At this time there is such a system to our south in Florida. This wave is expected to move North / Northwest possibly interacting with the Gulf of Mexico, pulling more tropical moisture into the southern states. Will any of this moisture make it here ? That’s the million dollar question.

There is also another area of disturbed weather farther south which I’ll be keeping an eye on for development.

Here is the current radar from Florida showing the rain associated with the first wave in the graphic above denoted by the number 1.

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