Severe Drought Ongoing in the Southeast

By Matt Alto, Meteorologist
December 3, 2012; 5:40 AM ET
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High pressure centered off the Carolina coastline will continue to keep the Southeast sunny, mild and dry through the weekend and into next week. Unfortunately, the pattern bringing this nice and enjoyable weather is not helping the ongoing drought across the region.

While any rain would be welcome in the abnormally dry and drought areas of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas, significant rainfall does not appear to be on the way in the near future.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, "rainfall over the past two months has totaled less than 50 percent of normal (locally less than 25 percent of normal) from northern Florida and southern Alabama northeastward across much of Georgia into central portions of the Carolinas".

In fact, much of the area from Alabama to the central Carolinas has been in a significant deficit of rainfall since the beginning of September. The chart below shows just how dry it has been for a few select cities in the Southeast since the beginning of September.

City, State
Total Precip
Normal Precip
% of Normal Precip
Montgomery, Ala.
7.41 inches
11.50 inches
64%
Atlanta, Ga.
4.87 inches
11.98 inches
41%
Augusta, Ga.
4.30 inches
9.31 inches
46%
Charlotte, N.C.
6.68 inches
9.78 inches
68%
Jacksonville, Fla.
9.65 inches
14.23 inches
68%
Charleston, S.C.
5.28 inches
12.28 inches
43%
Macon, Ga.
4.34 inches
9.70 inches
45%

Chart shows precipitation stats during the period from Sept. 1, 2012 through Nov. 30, 2012.

In the coming days which will take us through the weekend and into next week, several disturbances in the jet stream will pass through well to the north. Each of these storms will drag a weak cold front into the Southeast; however, it appears that each front will lose strength and moisture as it nears the region.

While some locations will have a little rainfall from these spotty storms, they will not be enough to put any significant dent in the ongoing drought.

Looking further into the misty distant future, AccuWeather.com's winter forecast may give some hope to wetness for the Southeast.

The AccuWeather Long-Range Team is expecting the southern branch of the jet stream to be active at times this winter. The result of an active southern jet means that the region could be inline for several bouts of healthy rainfall. Any significant rain or snowfall could help put a dent in the drought conditions.

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