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Worsening drought conditions to plague southern US

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Dry weather set to dominate the southern United States into November will only worsen the already extreme drought conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that a severe to extreme drought is plaguing communities from northern Mississippi to northern Georgia and southeastern Tennessee.

The drought has reached exceptional levels near the northern border of Georgia and Alabama.

Unfortunately, there are no signs of needed rain to replenish lawns and reservoirs through at least the end of this month.

"High pressure will hold over the Southeast and Deep South into early next week, promoting dry and largely sunny conditions" AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel said.

After a cool start to the weekend, temperatures will rebound back above normal with highs from Greenwood, Mississippi, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta averaging from the middle 70s to lower 80s Sunday into midweek.

A cold front will cross the area late next week, but will likely struggle to deliver rain to the hardest-hit drought areas.

"Some areas, like Mississippi and western Alabama will have a better chance to get some rain from the next front," Samuhel said, "but the places with the worst drought are going to miss out."

The theme of dry weather dominating to end October will spill over into November with the AccuWeather long-range forecasting team anticipating below normal rainfall in the drought-stricken areas.

Residents are urged to follow any water conservation advisories and rules issued by officials. Caution should be used when dealing with sparks, campfires or bonfires.

The drought has worsened in recent weeks with Atlanta only receiving 0.22 of an inch of rain since Sept. 19 when 4.24 inches is more common.

Columbia, South Carolina, nearly 200 miles away, recorded nearly 5 inches of rain during the same period. That was largely due to the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Matthew.

The Chattahoochee River from Lake Lanier to northeast of Atlanta is running below normal, according to the USGS. Georgia River Network states that the river supplies 70 percent of metro Atlanta's drinking water.

The Coosa River at Gadsden in northwestern Alabama remains around 1.5 feet below its low water stage of 508 feet, the National Weather Service stated.

More than a month has passed since Gadsden last registered measurable rain on Sept. 18.

"The worst of the drought is outside of the major agricultural areas in the Southeast, including the cotton and peanut areas," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler said.