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Drought Watch: Severity Worsens in So. Ga., State Line Regions

local drought monitor (05/11/2017)
Posted at 5:00 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 17:00:00-04

MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) -- Persistent high pressure over the region in the last week, along with limited rainfall, have resulted in an increase in general drought conditions across the north Florida/southern Georgia landscape.

The weekly update of the Drought Monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center shows the emergence of Extreme Drought levels in the parched Okefenokee region of southeast Georgia and adjacent counties.  A stretch of Extreme Drought classification covers the Withlacoochee River area of south-central Georgia as well.

Severe Drought is noted along the Florida/Georgia state line, with lesser drought categories south of Interstate 10.

Earlier heavy rain this season impacting the Big Bend coast and sections of the southeast Big Bend have helped in keeping these regions generally drought-free for the time being.  However, the entire Florida peninsula south of the Santa Fe and Steinhatchee rivers has at least Abnormally Dry conditions, along with wide swaths of Moderate Drought designation or worse.

Above-average temperatures and little to no rain have contributed to the return of higher drought classifications in the region, levels that were last experienced in the fall season of 2016.  However, all local drought categories continue to be described as "short-term" drought, meaning possible additional rain activity over the next six months can cut down in the intensity and longevity of drought conditions.