DROUGHT MOVES INTO U.S. SOUTHEAST
22, 2004 — The NOAA Climate
Prediction Center and its partners at the NOAA
Climatic Data Center, U.S. Department
of Agriculture and the National
Drought Mitigation Center Thursday released the latest USA drought
conditions. New to the U.S.
Drought Monitor this week is the moderate drought in the Southeast.
According to the Drought Monitor, drought now extends from southeastern
Mississippi eastward into southern Alabama and northwestern Florida and
on into central and northeastern Georgia. (Click NOAA image for
larger view of U.S. Drought Monitor for April 20, 2004.)
"Record dryness in the southeast contributed to near-record low stream flows and rapidly depleted soil moisture. Although earlier this month the Easter weekend rains benefitted parts of the Southeast, the precipitation deficits were too steep to offset. The southeast still needs a good soaking rain," said LeComte.
With estimated soil moisture more than 4 inches below normal, and year-to-date rainfall deficits ranging from 5 to 10 inches, the Southeast can use several inches of rain over an extended period to squelch the developing drought.
For the rest
of the month, there is some rain in the forecast but expected amounts
fall far short of what is needed. Beyond April, NOAA's long-term forecasters
see below-normal rainfall for May through July affecting parts of the
region, but also some signs the Southeast may see improvement by late
summer in terms of increased rainfall. Forecasters send a word of caution
since the summer heat and resulting evaporation make it hard to end drought
without considerable rainfall. "We will have to stay tuned in for
nature's developments," said LeComte.
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