Just a few weeks ago, much of the southeastern US was battling an Extreme to Exceptional drought. Eight percent of the country was in an Extreme drought, with much of that being in the southeastern US. The southeast drought was bad, and only looked to get worse.
This was causing many issues across the region. Lakes were running low on water across much of the region, almost all vegetation was very dry, and wildfires were a big result of this. The most infamous of the many wildfires was the Gatlinburg, TN wildfire that ran rampant in 80 mph winds. This fire was able grow so quickly because of the large scale drought affecting the region. I mean, remember, much of these regions saw less than an inch of rainfall over a two to two and a half month timeframe.
Typically, the time period of late Summer, early and mid Fall is the dry period across much of the southeastern US, but it is almost never as dry as it was. Knoxville, TN recorded less than .5″ of rain total in a 60 day timespan. However, all of that change a couple weeks ago. Rainfall became plentiful across much of the southeast drought area, with many areas seeing over 6″ of rainfall in the past 30 days.
This has drastically helped the southeast drought, with the percentage of area within Extreme drought dropping from 8.66% to 5.30 percent. Additionally, the percent of country within any drought dropped from 56.31% to 54.83%, which is a pretty drastic drop in just one week. These are comparisons between two drought updates that were released a week apart, and as you can see, the drought has changed significantly. The newfound rain has helped to stop much of the wildfire activity that was ongoing, which is very exciting as well.
In California, the drought is expected to improve a bit as well. A weather system is forecast to impact them this week and into the weekend, and is forecast to bring up to and exceeding an inch of rain in many areas that need it out there.
Overall, there have been a couple weeks of nice rainfalls that have been pushing back on the drought. More rain looks to come in the future, as the pattern continues to look active. That is very good news.