September 22, 2010

Southeast Drought Monitor

During the previous 7 days, rainfall production was dominated by Tropical Storm Hermine and cold fronts moving across the northern tier of the contiguous U.S. The southeast U.S. continues to be bypassed by most of the significant rains from Tropical Storms.With the exception of some areas across the southern Appalachians, most of the drought areas from Virginia to Florida and along the gulf Coast received little rainfall.

Severe drought conditions were introduced into southeastern Alabama and extreme northern Florida, based on NLDAS soil moisture values, low stream flows (5-10 percentile), and numerous agricultural impacts. Reports from agricultural extension personnel, relayed through the National Weather Service indicated that the peanut crops in this region are in danger of being left in the ground, despite being nearly full grown, due to the dry soil damaging the harvesting equipment. Additionally, oak trees (20 to 30 years old) are beginning to die, from the lack of water while parallels are being made to the 1980 dry spell.

Farther south and east, moderate drought is also indicated as far south as St. Lucie County in Florida. Vero Beach reported its fourth driest May-September period on record while 90-day precipitation deficits across eastern Florida were near 12 inches in many places.

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