Area of severe drought nearly doubles across Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday morning shows a continued worsening of drought conditions across the entire state of Alabama.

Drought conditions continue to worsen across Alabama and Georgia (Image: WHNT News 19)

Drought conditions continue to worsen across Alabama and Georgia (Image: WHNT News 19)

This report was released before Thursday's showers and thunderstorms, but no one got enough rain to significantly affect the ongoing drought.

The 'severe' drought category saw the largest increase in area over last week. The percent of Alabama considered to be in severe drought jumped from 37 percent to 61 percent. 98 percent of Alabama is experiencing a moderate drought.

The highest level of drought classification, the exceptional drought, now covers five percent of the state. Parts of Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jackson and Jefferson Counties are included in the exceptional drought.

An estimated 4.7 million people in Alabama are experiencing drought conditions.

Drought fuels hundreds of fires since early September

Fire on Newby Road in Limestone County (Photo Courtesy of Brooke Morris)

Fire on Newby Road in Limestone County (Photo Courtesy of Brooke Morris)

Due to the ongoing dry conditions, an outdoor burn ban continues for 46 counties in Alabama.

Since January 1, 2,182 wildfires have charred over 28,000 acres across Alabama. Nearly 1,000 of those fires have happened in the last 30 days. In north Alabama, wildfires have been most numerous in DeKalb County. 211 wildfires have burned over 800 acres since January 1.