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Friday February 12th, 2016 4:49AM

Most of N. Georgia now drought-free

By Staff
ATHENS - An unusually wet March has brought major drought relief to north Georgia, according to the state climatologist, who says only the Lake Lanier and Lake Hartwell basins are now in drought. The remainder of north Georgia is drought-free.

However, David Stooksbury says abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions continue across south Georgia.

"Though relief has come, long-term rainfall deficits are still a concern. Small and medium reservoirs are full. The major exceptions are Lake Lanier and the Savannah River Valley reservoirs Hartwell, Russell and Clarks Hill. Rain across the piedmont and mountains have resulted in the soil moisture being near normal for the end of March. However, soils across south Georgia remain abnormally dry."

Stooksbury says the counties in north Georgia classified as being in moderate drought are Union, Towns, Rabun, Lumpkin, White, Habersham, Hall and Stephens. With the exception of northwest Georgia, which has normal moisture conditions for late March, the rest of north Geogia is classified as abnormally dry because of long-term rain deficits.

Coastal plain counties in south Georgia are classified as being abnormally dry or in moderate drought. Abnormally dry counties are south and west of Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Lee, Worth, Colquitt and Brooks. The remaining coastal plain counties are classified as being in moderate drought.

Stooksburgy added that currently the climate pattern is a weak La Niña pattern tending toward a neutral pattern. "A typical weak La Niña spring brings wet weather across the northern piedmont into the mountains, just like north Georgia experienced in March."

However, across coastal plain and southern piedmont, a weak La Niña spring is usually warm and dry. Outside the series of storms that crossed the coastal plain over the last several days, the expected La Niña pattern has occurred.

Moisture conditions are in good shape across most of the stateâ
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