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MEDIA NEWSWIRE

Dry May Worsens Georgia Drought

Macon received only 20 percent of its normal rainfall. Athens and Augusta got less than a third of normal. Columbus received 36 percent of normal while Savannah got 62 percent of its normal. Atlanta was the only major city reporting above average rainfall, ending the month 0.13 inches above normal.

For the year, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, and Savannah have received about two-thirds of their normal rain. Columbus has received just over half of its normal.

Soil Moisture in Georgia

5/28/99

5/29/98

5Yr Avg

---Percentages---

VeryShort

30

33

23

Short

42

42

34

Adequate

27

24

37

Surplus

1

1

6


As reported by county agents
For more information,
go to the GASS site.

Soil moisture conditions continued to decrease across Georgia the during the last week of May. All of Georgia except the northwest corner is now in severe drought, according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index, calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (CPC). The northwest is in mild drought.

Most sections of the state need 8 to 11 inches of rain to end the drought. Northwest Georgia needs more than 2.5 inches.

The crop moisture index from CPC continues to show a loss of soil moisture. Topsoil moisture is abnormally dry and yield prospects are deteriorating across central, southwest and southeast Georgia. Topsoil moisture in south central Georgia is excessively dry with yield prospects reduced.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that 72 percent of the state has short to very short soil moisture. Only 28 percent of the state has adequate or surplus moisture.

For more information, go to the Drought '99 Web site, or talk to your local county Extension Service agent about the drought's effects on crops, landscaping, gardens or livestock.

(David Emory Stooksbury is associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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