The Southeast was a tale of (historical) haves and have nots as a stalled upper-air pattern locked the weather conditions in place, leading to copious rains and flooding (in the Carolinas) versus persistent dryness and growing drought (in Mississippi and western Alabama). As mentioned in the Summary, the eastern half of South Carolina measured at least 10 inches of rain this week, with more than 20 inches recorded in east-central sections. The persistent fetch of tropical moisture from Hurricane Joaquin (stalled over the central Bahamas) courtesy of the upper-air low over the eastern Gulf Coast caused record rains and flooding in most of South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina, with 7-day averaged USGS stream flows at record high levels as of 12Z October 5 from South Carolina northward into southwestern Virginia. Needless to say, all short-term drought was removed from the Carolinas (including D2 to nothing, a 3-cat improvement), except an area of D0 and D1 bordering southern South Carolina and southeastern Georgia where totals were lower (0.5 to 2 inches, locally to 5) but still enough to warrant a 1-cat improvement. In contrast, rainfall gradually tapered off as one headed west, with little or no rain measured in Mississippi and western Alabama. In-between the two extremes, light to moderate showers, with heavier amounts (2 inches plus) in northern, eastern, and southwestern Georgia and north-central Florida, was enough to trim some of the D0 and D1 in Georgia. In southeastern Alabama, additional rain (0.5-2 inches) on top of last week’s deluge effectively created short-term surpluses, thus D0(S) was removed. Light rain fell on eastern Alabama and southern Florida, keeping them at status-quo, but another dry week and growing short-term deficits (3-6 inches at 90-days) in southwestern Alabama expanded D1 there. The deterioration in Mississippi will be detailed in the Lower Mississippi Valley and Southern Plains summary (next).
In the latest drought monitor released by the Drought Mitigation Center on Thursday for conditions through Tuesday, North Carolina’s drought conditions are a drastic change to last week. With days on end of precipitation, the state is reporting no drought conditions for the first time since early May of this year. Last week almost 2% of the state was reporting a severe drought, and only 35% was drought free. A year ago, 88% of the state was drought free.
The Palmetto states drought conditions also drastically changed this week with the excessive rains across the region. Last week 27% of the state reported being drought free – that number reached 96% this week. Just four counties are reporting any dry conditions: Jasper, Hampton, Allendale and Barnwell. The estimated population in the drought areas is 18,567. Last week almost 11% of the state reported severe drought, that has been erased this week.
In the latest drought monitor released by USDA, the Commonwealth of Virginia saw big changes to the drought conditions. Now almost 100% of the state is drought free, with just one very small area with a tiny amount of drought. Last week almost 40% of the state reported abnormally dry conditions. The state reported the last 100% drought free week back in early August.