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After dry month, Georgia nearing drought status

Topsoil moisture has decreased, elevating fire danger early December in the Peach State.
Credit: sawitreelyaon - stock.adobe.com

ATLANTA — After a dry November, abnormally dry conditions have developed over a significant portion of the Peach State in the last few weeks. 

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor released Dec. 2 includes 39 percent of the state in their first category, D0 or Abnormally Dry, shown in yellow on the map below. This means that although a drought has not developed yet, a short term dryness is occurring that could be impacting the people and agriculture of the state. This includes much of metro Atlanta and North Georgia.

With these dry conditions that have developed, topsoil moisture is now decreased and there's an elevated fire risk while the pattern continues. 

The Georgia Forestry Commission is monitoring our state's fire risk closely while these dry conditions persist. Low soil moisture can mean more fuels for fires when low humidity and gusty conditions also come into play.

RELATED: Georgia summer burn ban lifted, state Forestry Commission highlights new rules

The drought comparison below shows how the dry conditions have expanded over North Georgia over the last week. We have now doubled the area in Abnormally Dry conditions, up from under 20 percent of the state last week.

There has been a dry pattern over the last three weeks with a lack of significant rainfall in Atlanta. For the month of November, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport received 1.32 inches of rainfall. This is more than two and a half inches below our normal monthly rain of 3.98 inches. 

Over half of the month's rain was picked up on a single day alone over 20 days ago. In total, only five days in the month of November had measurable rain in the capital of the Peach State. 

Atlanta still has a slight rainfall surplus for the year of 2021 as a whole. 

Part of the state could continue to have drier than normal conditions through the winter months, expected from the ongoing La Nina.

RELATED: 'Double Dip' La Niña drives Georgia's winter outlook