597 US Counties Declared Disaster Areas Due to Drought

via usda.gov

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2013—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today designated 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas due to drought and heat, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. These are the first disaster designations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013.

The 597 counties have shown a drought intensity value of at least D2 (Drought Severe) for eight consecutive weeks based on U.S. Drought Monitor measurements, providing for an automatic designation.

The 597 primary counties designated as disaster areas today correspond to the following states: Alabama, 14; Arkansas, 47; Arizona, 4; Colorado, 30; Georgia, 92; Hawaii, 2; Kansas, 88; Oklahoma, 76; Missouri, 31; New Mexico, 19; Nevada, 9; South Carolina, 11; Texas, 157; and Utah, 17. For more information about the specific state designations, visit the Farm Service Agency’s disaster designations page.

Alabama counties declared Disaster Areas Due to Drought are:

Bullock
Cleburne
Henry
Montgomery
Chambers
Coosa
Lee
Randolph
Clay
Elmore
Macon
Russell
Talladega
Tallapoosa

Georgia counties declared Disaster Areas Due to Drought are:

Baker
Dougherty
Laurens
Randolph
Baldwin
Douglas
Lee
Richmond
Bartow
Early
Lincoln
Rockdale
Bibb
Elbert
Lumpkin
Schley
Bleckley
Fannin
McDuffie
Spalding
Burke
Fayette
Macon
Stewart
Butts
Forsyth
Marion
Sumter
Calhoun
Fulton
Meriwether
Talbot
Carroll
Gilmer
Mitchell
Taliaferro
Chattahoochee
Glascock
Monroe
Taylor
Cherokee
Grady
Morgan
Terrell
Clay
Greene
Muscogee
Thomas
Clayton
Hancock
Newton
Troup
Cobb
Haralson
Oconee
Twiggs
Columbia
Harris
Oglethorpe
Union
Coweta
Heard
Paulding
Upson
Crawford
Henry
Peach
Walton
Crisp
Houston
Pickens
Warren
Dawson
Jasper
Pike
Washington
Decatur
Jefferson
Polk
Webster
De Kalb
Johnson
Pulaski
Wilcox
Dodge
Jones
Putnam
Wilkes
Dooly
Lama
Quitman
Wilkinson

Drought Disaster Designations Map

[PDF] Drought Disaster Designations Map

[PDF] List of Designated Drought Disaster Counties

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Georgia Drought Update: Long Term Drought Continues – September 21 2012

Severe to Exceptional Drought conditions continue for most of Central and areas of North Georgia. Little relief is expected in the coming month or so but there is hope. At this time a weak El Nino is beginning to show itself and is expected to persist through the remainder of the year. During an El Nino in the fall and winter months, precipitation generally increases along the gulf and the southeast. Combined with cooler temperatures and lower sun angle areas can expect to benefit from the increase in moisture due to less evaporation.

While we wait on El Nino to set up and bring much needed moisture, drought continues to worsen in areas of Georgia that have seen little to below normal rainfall. In the last 14 days some areas of Georgia saw much need rain generally in the 1 to 2 inch range, while areas of North Georgia saw 3 to 5 inches. While this was welcomed it did little in the way of drought relief where is was most needed.

As of September 20 2012 departure from normal rainfall or deficit for select areas.

Atlanta down 12.86 inches
Athens down 6.17 inches
Columbus down 8.56 inches
Macon down 10.29 inches

Georgia lakes haven’t fared much better

Allatoona down 6.23 Feet
Carters down 2.50 feet
Hartwell down 11.95 feet
Lanier down 9.52 feet
Thurmond down 12.08 feet
West Point down 8.34 feet

The outlook for October shows hints at above normal temperatures and equal chances of above of normal rainfall. The extended outlook [90days] hints at above normal temperatures heading into winter and Above normal rainfall due to the expected El Nino pattern [mentioned above].

Current drought conditions for Georgia and the Southeast US as of September 18 2012

Here’s a look at rainfall across Georgia and the Southeast form the last 30 days

Here’s how much rain is needed to End drought in 3 months [left] and see relif [right]

Here are current drought conditions across the US

How much rain is needed across the US

Drought outlook September through December 2012

There is still a chance the southeast ‘could’ see a tropical system bring needed rains albeit getting slimmer as the season progresses and El Nino sets up. Hurricane season ends November 30. Looking more like drought will continue into 2013 and from there we’ll just have to watch.

Georgia Drought Update: Good news and bad news – June 29 2012

The good news; Some areas of Georgia and the southeast saw drought relief. The bad news; Some areas didn’t !

Areas that saw drought relief are pretty much the same areas that saw drought relief earlier this month from Tropical Storm Beryl. Tropical Storm Debby was responsible for bringing drought relief to these areas this time. Rain from Debby and Beryl did help the drought situation in areas of Southeast Georgia, North Florida, and other areas. It did little for North and Central Georgia overall.

Here’s a graphic showing drought conditions in Georgia. On the left: Drought conditions on June 5 before Tropical Storm Debby. On the right: Current drought conditions as of June 26 2012 after Debby.

Here’s a graphic showing the Drought conditions in the Southeast for the same time period. Notice Florida, where drought for the most part has been wiped out. On the left: Drought conditions on June 5 before TS Debby. On the right: Current drought conditions as of June 26 2012 after TS Debby.

Here’s a panel showing 30 DAY Observed Precipitation TOP, Normal precipitation BOTTOM LEFT and Departure from Normal BOTTOM RIGHT for Georgia, Alabama, North Florida and South Carolina. The big winner in the last 30 days is Florida.

Here’s the current U.S. drought severity index on the LEFT and how much precipitation would be required on the RIGHT to end drought conditions across the U.S.. [NOTE: The end of a drought is defined by a PHDI value of -0.5.]

Here’s the current drought severity in the U.S.. ON the LEFT June 5 and on the RIGHT current as of June 26 2012.

Here’s the 3 month Temperature and Precipitation outlook for the U.S.. It’s not looking good as Temps will be above normal for much of the county drying things out even more and chances of rain for the most part are equal save some intervention by tropical systems in the south.

Here’s the Drought Outlook for June 21 through September 30 2012. Again, not looking good !

Here’s a panel from May 2012 showing Precipitation REQUIRED to end drought conditions in 3 months TOP LEFT. The PROBABILITY of Receiving the Required precipitation TOP RIGHT. Precipitation required to improve drought conditions BOTTOM LEFT and the PROBABILITY of Receiving it BOTTOM RIGHT to improve drought conditions.

All in all, drought conditions are likely to continue for the next 3 months and likely beyond that for areas currently experiencing drought in the U.S..