Drought Conditions Expand Around Atlanta, North Georgia

Drought conditions are expanding around Atlanta and north Georgia. Nearly half the state is drier than usual, and a quarter of the state is now labeled either in “severe” or “extreme” drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“The last time that we saw this in Georgia was back in that long multi-year drought ending in March 2013,” said Jordan McLeod, regional climatologist at the Southeast Regional Climate Center. “It’s been a few years, but it’s not something Georgia hasn’t seen before.”

This spring was the eighth driest on record for the Atlanta area, according to state climatologist Bill Murphey.

“Conditions have worsened in the past few weeks,” he said. “There’s definitely concern, especially on the agricultural end – soil moisture’s real important.”

Still, he said this is all short-term; it’s been dry for a matter of a couple months, not half a year, or years on end. Storms bringing steady rain this summer could bring us back to normal.

So could a tropical storm or hurricane later this year, said McLeod.

“We obviously don’t want damage from the hurricane but the rain could very well be beneficial in that regard,” he said.

Declaring an official drought is up to Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division.