ATLANTA – Extreme drought conditions are persisting in parts of Alabama and Georgia, wilting crops and raising the specter of wildfires.
Thursday's U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly report that tracks drought conditions nationwide, showed the worst of the drought was found in Alabama's northeast corner and in northwest Georgia along with a swath of land south and southeast of Atlanta.
In northwest Georgia, extreme drought conditions are continuing in more than a half-dozen counties.
"This area has been hard-hit with withered crops, low-flow creeks, cattle sell-offs, and farmers seeking hay from neighboring states to feed livestock. There have also been reports of armyworm infestations," the report said of Georgia's northwest corner. "There has also been a large impact on hay, soybeans, and corn."
In North Carolina, the drought is less severe, but dry conditions are evident as trees lose leaves early.
"A substantial number of trees are prematurely losing their leaves and yellowing way ahead of schedule," the report stated.
In Asheville, North Carolina, the airport received just .02 inches of rain in the first three weeks of September, the report stated.
In Tennessee, the driest areas are in eastern portion of the state, especially in the greater Chattanooga area.
Chattanooga has seen 13.8 inches of precipitation since March 1 — less than half of what it normally receives during that period. "The last time this happened was over a century ago, in 1902," the report said.
Parts of northern Mississippi are also experiencing a severe drought, though not the extreme conditions reported in parts of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the federal government and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.