One of the worst droughts on record continued in the
South on Sunday, threatening wildlife and agriculture with no relief in sight.
Drought conditions have been reported in
Some parts of
Georgia have rainfall deficits of more than 40 inches
that have accumulated over the last three years.
The National Weather Service said this could be the
driest 6-month period in southern
Alabama in more than a century unless rainfall comes
soon. Only 8 1/2 inches of rain has fallen on the area this year. Rainfall is
14 to 18 inches below normal in
Alabama, where corn has grown only waist high and some
cattle are being sent to slaughter because farmers do not have enough hay or
water to give them.
Atlanta counties were placed under stringent water
restrictions last week that prohibit outdoor water use between 10 a.m. and 10
p.m. Restrictions were also in place in other
"Several streams in South
Georgia, which normally have a trickle of water even
during a drought, are now completely dry," said
Mike Gennings of the
Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Florida, the water table has dropped because of the dry
conditions. Coastal Well Drilling owner
Vernon Creamer estimated that the water level has fallen at
least 14 feet since last winter. In
Florida, hundreds of turtles have died crossing
U.S. Highway 27 as they fled 4,000-acre
Lake Jackson, which has dried up because of sinkholes and
After he saw the carnage, turtle biologist
Matt Aresco convinced the
Florida Department of Transportation to allow a fence to prevent
the turtles from crossing the highway. He said he has moved 2,100 turtles
during the past two months.
Don Siegelman has asked for a federal disaster declaration
that would provide low-income loans and emergency assistance for some farmers.
The Alabama Forestry Commission has banned outdoor burning in many counties in
U.S. Department of Agriculture said most of eastern
Tennessee is considered "abnormally dry," but local
officials said river water supplies were still adequate for the summer.
"If some community is in danger, then we would be able
to help them out," said
Mike Loftin, spokesman for the
Tennessee-American Water Co. in
Officials said heavy rains from a tropical storm or
hurricane could help ease the drought, but a single tropical weather system
would not erase the rainfall deficit.
"Even a tropical storm, while it could cause major
flooding anywhere in the state, probably would not bring us out of the
David Stooksbury, state climatologist and professor of
engineering at the
University of Georgia.
Forecasters said no significant rainfall was expected in
Georgia until later in the week. The
National Weather Service said any rain that falls "will not be
enough to do much to the drought."