Rainfall late last week and early this week has brought some temporary relief to drought conditions across Georgia. But the state needs much more rain to break the drought.
Total rainfall between June 8 and June 14 in the state's peanut region ranged from 0.3 inches at Statesboro to 1.98 inches at Tifton. Most stations reported between 0.75 and 1.75 inches.
Across the rest of the state, rainfall ranged from 0.1 at Dearing and 0.27 at Eatonton. Some stations had more than 1.5 inches, included Attapulgus and Dixie in southwest; Tifton in south central; Vidalia in southeast; Griffin, Pine Mountain and Williamson in west central; Blairsville in the north Georgia mountains; and Clark Atlanta University in downtown Atlanta.
Drought Still On
(The rainfall figures are from the University of Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network. Daily updates are available on the Web site.)
With last week's rain, conditions in central Georgia improved from extreme to severe drought, while southwest Georgia improved from severe to moderate drought. Except for the northwest (moderate), the rest of the state is in severe drought.
Rainfall needed to end the drought ranges from 4 inches in the northwest to more than 11 inches in the southeast. The eastern two-thirds of the state needs more than 9 inches to end the drought.
Soil Still Dry
The Georgia Agricultural Statistical Service reports that soil moisture is very short to short in 70 percent of the state. The topsoil in the central, east central and all of south Georgia is excessively dry, and yield prospects are reduced. West-central Georgia soils are abnormally dry, and prospects are deteriorating. Across the rest of the state, the soil moisture is rated as short.
Regional drought and soil moisture conditions are calculated by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center and updated weekly. Agriculture remains stressed across the state. GASS rates almost half of the corn and pastures very poor to poor. Almost a third of the cotton crop is rated very poor to poor.
(David Emory Stooksbury is associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)