Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Atlanta, GA

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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT FOR NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
320 PM EDT MAR 16 2017

...LONG-TERM SEVERE TO EXTREME DROUGHT CONTINUES ACROSS NORTH
GEORGIA WITH ONLY SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT...

SYNOPSIS...

After a quiet start to the weather pattern over the last two weeks
with a strong ridge of high pressure in place, several frontal
systems and upper disturbances impacted the region on March 7 and
March 10. The showers and storms from these two systems (some
stronger in the second system) resulted in the more widespread
rainfall amounts for the northern and western portions of the area.
More stratiform type rainfall from moisture interacting with a
colder airmass allowed for some additional fairly low amounts for
March 12 to 14, with some late transition to light snow in the
far northeast mountains.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS.
Recent rainfall has allowed for some improvement across the state,
with the shallow soil moisture profile ranging from slightly dry to
favorably moist across the state. The deeper soil profile still
highlights the severe to extreme drought conditions over portions of
north Georgia, even with recent rainfall.

Overall, the long-term drought persists with only slight changes
over the last two weeks. Conditions have improved slightly in far
northwest Georgia to where the extreme drought region now extends
along and north of a line from Calhoun, to Dawsonville, to Toccoa.
The severe drought continues to remain north of a line from
Carrollton, to Lilburn, to Elberton.

The portions of central Georgia where the drought has officially
ended has had some slight expansion northward just southwest of the
Atlanta metro area. This drought-free area now extends generally
south of a line from Franklin, to Fairburn, to Forsyth, to Thomson.
It normally takes at least three consecutive months of above normal
rainfall to consider ending a drought.

RIVER AND STREAM FLOW CONDITIONS.
Some significant hydrological impacts to water supply are still
occurring and stream flows and ground water tables are very low
across many locations in north Georgia and also now extending
across much of central Georgia.  The headwaters of the Chattahoochee
river continue to be excessively dry.

FIRE DANGER HAZARDS.
The latest fire danger assessment indicates a high to very high risk
across north and central Georgia...with the greatest risk across the
far north and east central portions. Please note that this assessment
can change rapidly due to changes in moisture levels and rainfall
received.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

Generally 0.5 to 2.5 inches of total rainfall occurred in the last
two weeks across north and central Georgia. The highest rainfall
swaths spanned mainly north of the Atlanta metro area and also in
west central Georgia north of Columbus. The 1.5 to 2.5 inches in
these areas (with locally higher) accounted for about 75 to 110
percent of normal.

The area that received the least amount of rain was mainly along
and south of a Columbus to Macon to Washington line. The 0.5 to 1.5
inches in this area only accounted for 25 to 75 percent of normal,
although much of this area is outside the designated drought area.

Given that the long-term drought is expected to continue through the
spring, the total rainfall and departures listed in the table below
will be based on 365 days until further notice.

Location    Total Rainfall   Normal    Departure     Percent
              365 Days       Value    from Normal   of Normal

ATLANTA         36.24        49.71      -13.47         73%
ATHENS          36.49        46.33       -9.84         79%
COLUMBUS        41.80        46.75       -4.95         89%
MACON           41.03        45.68       -4.65         90%
CARTERSVILLE    35.52        49.93      -14.41         71%
NE ATLANTA      32.24        52.97      -20.73         61%
WEST ATLANTA    30.71        51.17      -20.46         60%
GAINESVILLE     31.83        53.98      -22.15         59%
PEACHTREE CITY  31.91        49.99      -18.08         64%
ROME            35.37        51.92      -16.55         68%


HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

Current lake levels at USACE Projects were mainly below winter pool
levels, ranging from around 5 feet below winter pool at Carters Lake
to around 9 feet below winter pool at Lake Lanier. Although
Allatoona is well above the winter pool level (nearly 9.5 feet), the
USACE has already begun letting the lake rise to summer pool levels,
and the latest elevation is on track to fill as expected. West Point
is in a similar situation, with the current elevation slightly
higher than the expected level at this point in the filling process.

The pool levels are projected to remain nearly steady or have slight
rises for most locations during the next four weeks. At this point
in the year, the USACE projects will be in the final months of winter
pool levels, or will begin filling lakes to their summer pool
elevations, depending on the location.

Lake        Winter Pool   Current Level   Departure
                                          in feet
Allatoona       823          832.55        +9.55
Carters        1072         1067.14        -4.86
Hartwell        656          650.09        -5.91
Lanier         1070         1060.99        -9.01
Thurmond        326          320.05        -5.95
West Point      628          631.82        +3.82

Additional lake levels are available at the link provided in the
RELATED WEBSITES section below.

Stream levels across north Georgia over the last 14 days have
continued to be much below normal, which now is the case for much
of central Georgia. Please note that creeks and smaller rivers can
change quickly due to runoff from heavy rain if it occurs.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

For the rest of March and the month of April...the outlook for north
and central Georgia has a greater chance for above normal temperatures
and near equal chances of above or below normal precipitation.

90 Day Outlook...for April through June...above normal temperatures
and equal chances of above or below normal precipitation are
expected.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...

The next Drought Information Statement is scheduled for Thursday,
March 30, 2017.

&&

RELATED WEBSITES...

Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following websites:

NWS WFO Atlanta:  www.weather.gov/atlanta
NWS WFO Atlanta - Drought Resources: weather.gov/ffc/raindef
NWS WFO Atlanta - Lake Levels: weather.gov/ffc/rrm
NOAA AHPS - Rainfall Totals: water.weather.gov/precip
U.S. Drought Portal: www.drought.gov
U.S. Drought Monitor: www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu
Climate Prediction Center: www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
Office of the Georgia State Climatologist:
    epd.georgia.gov/office-state-climatologist
U.S. Geological Survey - Water Resources of Georgia:
    ga.water.usgs.gov
Georgia Forestry Commission - Fire Weather Assessments:
    weather.gfc.state.ga.us/maps/fdf1.gif


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...

This data was furnished by the National Weather Service in
cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Georgia State
Climatologist in Atlanta, the Georgia Environmental Protection
Division, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Current Fire Danger
Assessments were provided by the Georgia Forestry COmmission.


QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...

If you have any questions or comments about this Drought Information
Statement, please contact:

NWS WFO Atlanta
4 Falcon Drive Peachtree City, GA 30269
Phone: 770-486-1133
Email: sr-ffc.webmaster@noaa.gov

$$

Baker


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