The welcome rain in the past week helped reduce the worst drought in the Southeast, although the overall area of dry conditions did not change.  Just like the drought status is slow to worsen when we are going into a drought, the Drought Monitor authors remove drought slowly until it is clear that we have seen a long-term shift in the weather pattern.  The most noticeable improvements occurred in southern Alabama and Georgia and a small area near Atlanta.  I expect to see further improvements in next week’s map since we have had rain since this week’s cutoff date.  Drought generally decreases in the winter due to the combination of cool temperatures (which reduce evaporation) and dormant plants (which reduces evapotranspiration).  We still have a long way to go to completely make up the water deficit (but let’s not get it all in one event!).

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