Rain brings a little drought relief

Rainfall over the past two weeks offered some relief to areas in “exceptional drought,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s worst category of dry weather. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Rainfall over the past two weeks offered some relief to areas in “exceptional drought,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s worst category of dry weather. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Parts of Fulton County are no longer in an “extreme drought,” the second-most severe category, following back-to-back weeks with at least 2 inches of rainfall.

Areas including Atlanta saw a change in the drought designation from “extreme” to the third-most severe category of “severe,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Even North Georgia counties that remained in “extreme drought,” such as Gwinnett County, are allowing residents to start burning outdoors again.

Gwinnett temporarily lifted a burning ban Friday that had been in place since Nov. 18. But the county also warned residents to be careful.

“Last week’s rainfall put a dent in the drought, but it’s far from over,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Katie Walls said.

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

The good news is more rain is on the way Monday and Tuesday, according to the latest forecasts.

Water levels at Lake Lanier, Atlanta’s source of drinking water, increased slightly from 1,060.87 feet Dec. 2 to 1,060.99 feet Friday. The full pool level is 1,071 feet.

Rainfall last seven days: 2

Rainfall this month: 2

Rainfall deficit for the year: 9.21

Rainfall surplus since Dec. 1: 0.91

Values in inches as of 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