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Rain to remain absent in drought-stricken southeastern US into next week

No significant relief is in sight for areas of the southern United States plagued by drought and wildfires.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, an expansive area of extreme to exceptional drought conditions is affecting areas from central Mississippi to southwestern North Carolina.

From Oct. 1 to Nov. 12, Atlanta received a mere 0.16 of an inch of rain when the city typically receives 4.89 inches during the time period.

Birmingham, Alabama, has not received measurable rainfall (0.01 of an inch or greater) since Sept. 18.

While there may be a few opportunities for rainfall into Thanksgiving Day, none of the rainfall is expected to be significant enough to help ease the drought.

There are no signs of any significant rainfall through the end of the month across the Southeast, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said.

The region needs days and weeks of a steady, soaking rain to completely eliminate the drought.

"Things will only get worse before they get better," Margusity explained.

There will be an opportunity for some rain across the Carolinas and eastern Georgia on Sunday, but little to no rainfall will reach the most severe drought areas.

After Sunday, much of the third week of November will go by with no hints of rain. However, that could change next weekend.

"A front may have enough moisture to bring sporadic rainfall around [next weekend]," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

How much moisture the front is able to pull from the Gulf of Mexico will determine whether the rain is widespread and heavy or sporadic and light over the worst drought areas.

Dry conditions are expected to quickly return in the wake of the front.

The bone-dry conditions have provided a breeding ground for wildfires, many of which are burning across the southern Appalachians.

Assistant Chief Brent Masey, of the Highway 58 Fire Department in Harrison, Tenn., looks up as a helicopter carrying fire retardant flies over as Masey keeps watch on a wildfire Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

"More than 100 wildfires of various size and containment burned in the Southern states this past week," Sosnowski said.

On Thursday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for areas most at risk for fires and evacuations.

Over 5,000 firefighters from around the country have descended on the region to help battle the blazes, The Associated Press reported.

Smoke from the fires has dispersed hundreds of miles away and has led to poor air quality, hazy skies and reduced visibility across the region.

With the abnormally dry conditions expected to persist through the end of November, people should continue to use extreme caution when dealing with cigarettes, matches and outdoor flames.

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