cloudy
Thursday May 28th, 2015 12:09PM

Stooksbury: Next year's drought shaping up to be even worse

By The Associated Press
ATHENS - Georgia's state climatologist warned Friday that without more rain over the next three months, the state could face a drought next year even worse than this year's record conditions.

David Stooksbury said the severe drought gripping north Georgia and parts of the Southeast could expand through the rest of the state and lead to "catastrophic" conditions in the summer.

And although recent rains have helped recharge dwindling reservoirs, Stooksbury said forecasts show a dry winter ahead and little chance of the drought breaking.

"Currently," he said, "there is no relief in sight."

More than one-third of the Southeast - including Gainesville and surrounding areas - is covered by an "exceptional" drought, the worst drought category. The Atlanta area, with a population of 5 million, is smack in the middle of an affected region that also includes most of Tennessee, Alabama, North and South Carolina, as well as parts of Kentucky and Virginia.

"Drought conditions will persist across regions of Georgia currently in drought," Stooksbury said at a news conference in Athens. "Drought conditions will likely expand statewide by spring."

Stooksbury said half of the state is in extreme drought conditions now, with the worst conditions across the mountains and piedmont regions west of Interstate 75.

He said the extreme-to-exceptional drought regions will probably "muddle" through the winter and early spring. "But without a significant recharge of the soil moisture, groundwater, streams and reservoirs, conditions next summer could become catastrophic in these regions."

Stooksbury said Lake Lanier and other large water supply sources may bounce back some over the winter but "the big concern is they are not going to come up enough ."

(AccessNorthGa.com's Ken Stanford contributed to this story.)

On the Net:

http://www.georgiadrought.org
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge in courthouse shooting case refuses to step down
The judge presiding over the murder trial of a man accused in a deadly 2005 shooting spree that began in a courtroom refused Monday to step down from the case.
10:52PM ( 7 years ago )
Cornelia brings in 2008 with the 4th Annual Apple Drop
Cornelia knows how to have a good time on New Year
10:49PM ( 7 years ago )
Woman Who Tried to Kill Ford Freed
Sara Jane Moore, who took a shot at President Ford in a bizarre assassination attempt just 17 days after a disciple of Charles Manson tried to kill Ford, was paroled Monday after 32 years behind bars.
5:55PM ( 7 years ago )
Local/State News
US jobless aid applications rose last week; total still low
WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, though the overall level remains low and points to a healthy job market.Weekly applications increased 7,000 to a seasonally adj...
8:57AM ( 3 hours ago )
NE Ga.'s jobless rate drops in April; Gainesville metro has lowest rate in state
The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday morning that the unemployment rate for Northeast Georgia dropped for the month of April, and once again, the Gainesville Metro posted the lowest jobless rate of any metro in the state of Georgia.
By AccessWDUN staff
5:31AM ( 6 hours ago )
New federal rules on stream protection hailed, criticized
New EPA rules designed to better protect small streams, tributaries, wetlands and drinking water are being criticized by Republicans and farm groups.
5:00AM ( 7 hours ago )
Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 21
HOUSTON (AP) — Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 21 people dead and 11 ot...
11:09PM ( 13 hours ago )
Gainesville police: Alleged sexual assailant in custody
A Lithia Springs man is in custody for reportedly sexually assaulting a Gainesville woman.
4:50PM ( 19 hours ago )