“Exceptional” and “extreme” drought areas have expanded in Georgia. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

More Georgia areas now in most severe drought category

Drought conditions continued to worsen for Georgia over the past few days.

A larger swath of northwest Georgia entered the most severe category of drought: “exceptional.” And even more areas in and near metro Atlanta found themselves in the second-worst category: “extreme” drought. That’s according to data released Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

By Wednesday, Atlanta had experienced a rainfall deficit of 10.6 inches since March 1. Rome, which is included in the exceptional drought, has had a deficit just under 1 foot, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

Conditions in Georgia as a whole are so dry that state officials issued the year’s first drought alert to conserve water Sept. 9.

Water levels of Lake Lanier, which is Atlanta’s source of drinking water, stayed about the same at 1,064 feet this week. The full pool level for summer is 1,071 feet.

Rainfall last seven days: 0

Rainfall this month: 0.13

Rainfall deficit for the year: 7.22

Rainfall deficit since Sept. 1: 2.51

Values in inches as of end of day Thursday

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

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