In past weeks a Northeasterly fetch of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico has brought much needed rains to the south and southeast, where ripples / shortwaves in the southern jet stream have ejected northward every 3 to 4 days. At this time, the pattern continues with another round of rain this morning in southern areas of both Georgia and Alabama.
Since my last drought report on November 21 2012, some improvement was seen. The main areas to see improvement were in West Central Georgia where Exceptional [D-4] Drought was eliminated and Severe [D2] Drought and D4 pulled back in the vicinity of Athens, Georgia. While improvements where seen, the drought in Georgia remains persistent.
Here’s a graphic showing drought conditions in November 2012 on the left and current conditions on the right.
The Drought outlook for the Southeast region of the United States for January through March shows improvement. At this time I agree with this assessment based on time of year. Late fall through Winter is generally the wet season in the southeast and with lower temperatures combined with lower sun and shorter days, is a time for regeneration of soil moisture.
While the outlook is encouraging, the past year  many areas in Georgia ended with a deficit in rainfall. As of December 27 2012, Atlanta saw a deficit of 12.80 inches, Athens 9.73 inches, Columbus 11.48 inches and Macon 13.80 inches.
Here’s the current data showing how much rain is needed to end drought conditions across the United States in 3 months. *Note – The end of a drought is defined by a PHDI value of -0.5. Drought amelioration is achieved when a PHDI value of -2.0 is reached.
Temperatures and Precipitation outlooks for the next 6 through 14 days show probabilities of ‘both’ being ‘above average for the southeast US. You can see this HERE
My next Drought post will be in February but I will be Tweeting weekly updates so follow me there .. Follow @Cataulagawx