Despite rain, most of North Georgia remains in ‘exceptional’ drought

Despite getting close to 3 inches of rain in Atlanta this week, most of North Georgia remained in the most severe category of drought Friday.

That category is the U.S. Drought Monitor’s “exceptional drought,” which includes most counties surrounding Fulton, those in far North Georgia and many south of DeKalb.

Fulton County was in an “extreme drought,” the second-most severe category Friday.

Although the most recently available data from the Drought Monitor doesn’t factor in rain amounts North Georgia got after Tuesday, that rain isn’t expected to move the state out of historic drought.

“In Putnam County, drought has decimated pasture and hay land,” the U.S. Drought monitor said in a statement Tuesday.

Water levels at Lake Lanier, Atlanta’s source of drinking water, dropped slightly from 1,060.94 feet Nov. 24 to 1,060.87 feet Friday. The full pool level is 1,071 feet.

Lasting drought conditions led the state to issue new watering restrictions in 52 counties Nov. 17.

Rainfall last seven days: 2.98

Rainfall this month: 0.14

Rainfall deficit for the year: 10.26

Rainfall deficit since Dec. 1: 0.14

The state’s drought alerts:

Level 1: Requires public water systems to educate customers about conditions and encourages conservation.

Level 2: Limits outdoor watering to two days a week on an odd-even schedule. Even-numbered addresses may water Wednesdays and Saturdays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.); odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.). No water for outdoor fountains, car washes or power washing of homes.

Level 3: Prohibits all outdoor irrigation of landscapes. Food gardens may be watered between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. (Soaker hoses and drip irrigation may be used any time.) Hand watering allowed during designated hours. Golf course irrigation limited.

Source: Environmental Protection Division